Redefining Detroit: Eagle Children's Charities - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Redefining Detroit: Eagle Children's Charities

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

When Doug Kempton started Eagle Sports in 1999, the program had just 65 children. Today, more than 2,000 participate in the program, which has kids and their families playing sports and learning life lessons at Balduk Park on Detroit's east side.

"I think that any healthy city has to have a healthy community around it," Kempton says.

Eagle Children's Charities is doing work off the field, too. The faith-based charity launched SOAR Tutoring inside Detroit's Grace Community Church five years ago.

According to Kempton, the program's goal is to teach every third grader on the city's east side to read at or above grade level. In Detroit, where nearly half the residents are illiterate, reaching that goal is critical to the city's future.

"There are states that actually use the illiteracy rate of the third grade class as an indicator of how many prison beds they're going to need 20 years from now," Kempton says.

SOAR Tutoring is determined to change the game, and the program is seeing results.

"Our average kid in the program goes up two and a half grade levels in one year of tutoring," Kempton says. "We have some kids that go up four and five grade levels by just coming two hours per week."

After starting in the program, Shannon Lowery says she saw a "tremendous" jump in her son's grades. Now, her 10-year-old son has been awarded a scholarship to Grosse Pointe Academy.

"A lot of people need help and if it's open and ready for them to get it, they're more likely to take it," says Jadyn Broomfield, a tutor and Eagle Sports athlete.

Eagle Children's Charities is touching a lot of lives, but there are many more kids on Detroit's east side who need their help. The organization is looking for people in the community who are willing to step up as mentors and donors. For more information on how you can help, click here.

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