United Voice: Local Artists Plan Concert To Pay Youth Usage Fees At Douglass Rec Center
OKLAHOMA CITY - A concert happening this Sunday is already reaching its goals to give back to the community.
Local artists are coming together to raise money for the Douglass Rec Center, which raised its monthly usage fees from $5 to $10.
Fees went up at recreation centers citywide, but for families in some neighborhoods, an extra $5 is more than pocket change.
STEAM Camp is underway at the Douglass Center, and northeast native Jabee Williams recently dedicated time to reconnect with his roots, rapping for the campers.
“During the day in the summertime, there’s nothing to do,” Jabee said, “so you go to the center.”
He remembers walking there almost every day, but he learned on his latest visit that some kids were no longer able to afford it.
Founder of the Poetry and Chill movement, Gregory II, added, “This is where they go to have fun and kick it, and this is a place that is a safe zone for them in the city.”
Gregory II hosts an after-school poetry workshop for Douglass High School students down the street. They have been sharing stories of the same struggle. That is why he did not hesitate to say “yes” to a performance at Jabee's benefit concert, called ‘We Got This!’
Jabee said, “My mom always told me charity starts at home, so this is my home, so I take care of this first.”
A long list of acts aims to raise enough money to cover the monthly fees for the rec center that means so much to the northeast neighborhood. The cost to attend the concert is free, but they have already collected more than $1,000 in donations.
“People are excited,” Jabee said. “It’s been really good to see people who have no connection, no ties to that center, be so concerned and help out.”
Mayor David Holt and Councilwoman Nikki Nice plan to make appearances on Sunday, with Nice telling me the “fundraiser is a great testament to how we come together as a community!”
The city currently has no plans to lower the rec center's rates.
“A place like this, it has to be open to the community,” Gregory II said. “It has to be free, and that’s the main objective.”
The doors open at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 7 at the Tower Theatre on NW 23rd Street. The show starts at 7 p.m.