First Community Center for North Columbia to Open

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COLUMBIA - The first community center in north Columbia is preparing to open its doors later this month. 

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With the help of more than 35 donors, the Tree Top Innovative Learning Center plans to serve 3,000 children and their parents living in the area. The site will offer a daycare for children up to age five, as well as a community center for older children and their parents.

Chris Campbell is the owner of Tree Top Interactive Learning Center. He is also a member of the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence. Campbell says the center fulfills the task force's goal of curbing youth violence.

"How we plan on curbing that violence is giving these kids something to do, asking these kids what they want to do, bringing the things they want to do here, again, so they can have that safe place to play at," he said.

"We think that if they have somewhere to go, at least that's another option versus doing something they shoudn't be doing. They have a place to go where they can do things they want to do."

The site already boasts a basketball court and garden. Within the next few weeks, the center will welcome a large grill and playground.

Campbell's ultimate goal is to change 60 families' lives. He plans to do so through educational opportunities like free tutoring as well as assisting parents in the job hunt.