The Matt Garcia Youth Center is a safe haven for teens in Fairfield.
After 13-year-old Genelle Conway-Allen was found dead in a Fairfield park last month, the center is now offering self-defense for young girls.
“A lot of things have been going on with girls getting raped. This is a way for them to defend themselves,” said Malik Fowlkes, a member of the Fairfield’s Youth Commission.
The center is open five days a week, offering basketball, tutoring and mentoring for teens ages 13 to 18.
“My freshman year I was getting in a lot of trouble,” said Fowlkes, a senior in high school. “I had a 0.1 GPA and now I have a 4.0 and I am heading to college.”
The center is put on by the Fairfield community and there’s a partnership with the police department.
“This facility brings a lot of change to people’s mentality,” said 17-year-old Nawid Babrakzai.
The Matt Garcia Youth Center is a place to come to avoid getting into trouble. Currently, 600 kids are members the center has been open since 2007.