Funeral attempts to save center helping Atlantic City’s youth

The drums caught people’s attention as the group paraded past Atlantic City’s Stanley Holmes Village.
Groups of children quickly ran to see what was going on. Some smiled. Others moved to the beat. A few ran into the line.
This was a funeral, of sorts. But not for a victim of violence. Instead, it was to draw attention to a group trying to help give the city’s youth an alternative to the streets.
The Multicultural Community Center, which began with the AC Xclusive Drill Team and has grown into a full recreational program serving about 325 youth each week. The problem is, many don’t know about the offerings. Even few, it seems, are willing to help with the finances necessary to keep the nonprofit operating.
Founder LaToya Dunston’s hope was that New Orleans-style jazz funeral would be enough to garner some attention — and spark some generosity from the community.
The center “has been dying a slow death from lack of funding sources,” Dunston said. “No one seems to want to invest in the safety and the livelihood of this community’s youth.”
The center at 820 N. New York Ave. provides meals to the participants, along with offerings that include cultural dance, music and media, drill team and drum line, or just a place where kids can hang out without worrying about their safety.
“It is easy for our youth to get caught in the negativity, crime and violence of the inner city streets of Atlantic City,” Dunston said, adding that the center improves the odds of a positive outcome.
The processional will begin at 2 p.m. at Brown’s Park, ending a few blocks later at the center, where the service will be held.
Dunston is expecting more than 200 people to attend.
Anyone who wants to help with funding can bring a donation to the event, or go to the GoFundMe account by clicking here.
The AC Xclusive Drill Team is a Not for Profit 501 © 3 tax-exempt company. Donations can also be sent to 425 N. South Carolina Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401 C/O ACX Drill Team.