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Submitted by on Wed, 07/18/2007 - 4:35pm.

WILMINGTON -- A new program is giving local kids a safe haven this summer. Safety is often an issue in the Creekwood community. This summer, kids there have someone to turn to. Michelle Guarino is a gang counselor with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office. She runs a program each Wednesday afternoon at the Creekwood learning center to keep kids busy. Wednesday the kids were drawing pictures of places they would like to visit. With an increase in gangs in the area Guarino says it's crucial to let the kids know they have an option like this. Dianetta Rowell spent the afternoon there with her daughter and says she's happy to know this is just down the street. Dianetta Rowell's daughter attends Creekwood center. She said, "It keeps them out of the street. You don't have to worry about them when they're here because it's contained. There are people here with them. They're having a good time, they're talking, they're playing, they're laughing." Rowell encourages other parents to take advantage of the weekly program. If the program receives enough support, it will continue into the fall as an after-school program.

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