Churches in Long Beach are opening their doors to take in more kids than ever as counties across America seek to cut their costs by rolling back afterschool and summer programs.
Eight churches have clubbed together to launch the Long Beach Youth Alliance this week. The Alliance will be running 13 free programs for area youth ranging from hip hop dance to afterschool tutoring.
The programs are completely free and will accept any kids up to the age of 18.
They will run throughout the summer despite a drop in donations to the churches and substantial cuts to funding for educational youth programs.
Pastor Robert Langworthy, of Covenant Presbyterian, said the programs would help at-risk kids in particular.
"We're concerned that youth in downtown Long Beach do not have a safe, nurturing environment where they can spend their time," he said.
"While we churches all have our different beliefs and different opinions on ways to serve the community, we decided to put aside our differences and band together to support the children."
The churches are appealing for donations and volunteers to help keep the programs going.
Long Beach Councilman Robert Garcia told ABCLocal: "Programs that are ranging from karate lessons to classes about homework and volunteering, all these type of activities could not be possible without the support of the incredible eight – not just pastors that are heading these churches but the entire congregation."