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Learning center dedicated to College Park official

A digital learning center for youth, in College Park, recently opened and has been named in honor of a city council member.

The Joe Carn Digital Center, named for Councilman Joe Carn, Ward II, is located at the Lakeside Preserve apartments in College Park, according to College Park spokesman, Gerald Walker.

"It was really a surprise," said Carn, regarding the dedication. "I did not expect it at all."

The digital center was dedicated to Carn on Feb. 17, according to Walker.

The facility, located in the clubhouse of the apartment complex, provides educational support for after-school programs and instruction, said Walker. He added that it also serves as a safe environment to reduce the number of "latch-key" kids, in the apartment complex, said Walker.

The apartment complex is located at 4001 Lakemont Drive, in College Park.

Carn said he partnered with the Executive Director of Lite House Partners, Inc., Melvin Morris, to develop an after-school program, in College Park.

Morris said he has dedicated only three of his centers. He said that Lite House services a minimum of 30 centers, in Georgia and South Carolina.

"He [Carn] struck me for being a servant," said Morris, regarding the reason he decided to dedicate the center to Carn.

"He shows a general concern about the youth of College Park. Joe is a very humble person," Morris added.

Since 2001, Lite House Partners Inc., a non-profit, youth development organization, has conducted after-school programs for youth between the ages of five, to 18, according to Morris.

"The unique thing about our program is that we come right to our kids," said the Lite House Partners, Inc. executive director.

The program provides services for low-income youth, such as computer access, standardized testing preparation, and assistance with homework.

Participants will also engage in physical activity, and receive afternoon snacks, said Councilman Carn.

The children are assisted trained Lite House counselors and directors, according to the organization's web site.

"We fill the gap between the critical hours of 2:15 p.m., until about 6 p.m., or 6:30 p.m.," said Morris.

Before Morris and Carn received permission from the apartment complex to start the program, Carn said he believed that College Park could benefit from such a program.

"The kids will know that other people care in the community, outside of mom and dad," said Carn.

"[The program] may keep kids out of trouble. This gives them something to do," he added. "My goal is to have one of them [centers] in every apartment complex, across America."

For more information about Lite House Partners, Inc., visit www.litehousekids.org.