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Mr. Marcus Duke is the Founder and Executive Director of Club Kids in Danger Saved Inc. non-profit 501(c) 3 organization. Mr. Duke was honored during the “Shine a Light” segment at the national BET Awards June 26, 2016. For his service with gang prevention and also received the 40 for 40 years of service award from the Milwaukee Community Journal.
From the time he arrived in Phoenix he have organized several events for the youth and homeless veterans of the community, from feeding 500 plus homeless along with our national sponsor El Pollo Loco and others to giving away hundreds of new toys and “bags of Hope for underprivileged youth with “Arizona Helping Hands” and a ton of other great sponsors and the Lincoln Family YMCA (downtown) Phoenix.
Help4Half.com – ClubKidsINC – Help4Homeless – Help4Teens – SlapItOn – ShineALightMKE
Marcus Duke admits that he grew up straddling two worlds. His grandfather was the late Bishop William Rogers, Pastor of Bethlehem Temple Church. He grew up with strong Christian values, yet he hung out with gangs and eventually participated in a gang and drug-related activities.
“I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, but in the neighborhood that I lived in, I also spent a lot of time in the streets—selling drugs and participated in gang activities. I led that life for a couple of years until I started having children of my own. I realized that I could not continue that life; I wanted something better for them,” said Duke.
Duke said that he, his three brothers, and one sister grew up poor like most kids in Milwaukee’s central city community. It was poverty that made him turn to the streets—so he could help his mother pay the bills. Duke attended several different high schools in Milwaukee, but ended up completing his education at an alternative school, and later completed a work program through OIC.
“Even though my grandfather was a prominent minister, back then churches were not prosperous like they are today, so my grandfather did what he could to help, but he never had a lot of money. I was in my early 20s when I began to realize that I was doing more harm than good and, because of faith that had been instilled in me, along with the importance of family, I knew I had to get my life together,” he said.
Duke’s grandfather helped him start his first business—contract house painting. After ten years, his painting business morphed into a property management company. While his business prospered, Duke felt a calling to do something to get and keep kids off the street. In 1996, he started Club Kids In Danger Saved (INC), a juvenile gang prevention program.
“There were no activities to engage the kids, so I saw an opportunity to provide them with positive activities to keep them off the streets. We started with a Fourth of July event at McGovern Park. I was working on a committee and got introduced to the nonprofit arena through Will Allen of Growing Power, and that’s how Club Kids began,” he said.
The organization’s overarching goal is to keep youth out of trouble, off the streets, out of gangs, and out of jail by providing them with alternatives. Club Kids mission is to empower kids with the knowledge, skills, strength, and determination to become better people and citizens of the community. Club Kids offers youth creative activities in a controlled environment and introduces kids to a new and different world through arts, sports, recreation, and entertainment.
Duke said that one of the biggest challenges is getting ‘a seat at the table.’
“Many of the organizations that come into the central city are run by executive directors that live in the suburbs. The smaller nonprofits don’t receive the same opportunities as the larger ones, even though we believe we have a better chance of reaching the kids because we can better relate to them. One of our greatest challenges has been identifying a facility to house our programs. We remain hopeful that one day the City will allow us to use one of their unoccupied buildings to hold our programs,” said Duke.
In the meantime, Duke receives donations and assistance from volunteers and sponsors. To give local youth the opportunity to earn money, he engages them in activities such as cutting grass, shoveling snow, painting houses and providing event management services.
“We do what we can to keep this program running—that’s how we fund our programs. The money we earn provides a multitude of options for the youth—such as taking them skating, bowling, to the arcades—anything to keep them off the streets,” said Duke
While the sacrifices are great, the rewards are priceless. Duke said that he continues to operate on a lean and mean budget to ensure rapid and rewarding progress, and to see the kids go from being mean and mad at the world, to seeing and believing that somebody cares.
“It warms my heart to see the kids who grew up attending Club K.I.D.S. that are now having kids and bringing them back to be a part of this program. One youth from our program is graduating from Marquette University this year. To see these kids stay out of trouble, away from drugs and crime, and go on to graduate from college—that’s priceless,” said Duke.
Duke has a long-term vision for Club Kids. He recently started Club Kids 419 in Lima, OH and Club Kids 219 in Gary, IN. with a new office Las Vegas and a branch in Phoenix AZ.
“I want to see a Club Kids in every inner-city neighborhood in the United States. I might not see it in my lifetime; my grandkids may have to make it happen, but it’s part of Club Kids’ long-term vision,” said Duke.«Prev1/1Next»Help4HalfPromo 1Get Slapped Promo Ad shortsave the clubhouse2Save the Club kids clubhouse Milwaukee WI 53206Feeding The Homeless and Vets AZHELP4HALF Promo YOUTUBE 1«Prev1/1Next»
Stop the violence: Milwaukee man efforts youth center to “keep children off the street”
2016 BET Awards honored Milwaukee’s Marcus Duke and Club Kids
BET HONORED MARCUS DUKE WITH THEIR “SHINE A LIGHT” AWARD FOR HIS WORK IN THE COMMUNITY, SPECIFICALLY WITH GANGS.
How Marcus Duke turned an impromptu kids’ program into an institution.
MARCUS DUKE’S JOURNEY TO FIND A PERMANENT FACILITY FOR CLUB KIDS 414
October 16, 2016: Marcus Duke, Director, and Founder of Club Kids 414, Inc.
BY STEVE GARCZYNSKI
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Milwaukeean honored at 2016 BET Awards for work with youth
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“Keep them off the street:” Non-profit works to break up gangs, build up Milwaukee’s youth
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