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Helping kids at the heart of potential All-America City title for Asheboro

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ASHEBORO, N.C. -- The city of Asheboro is one of only 16 cities in the nation and the only one in North Carolina that still has a chance to take home the title of an All-America City.

The title is given by the National Civic League in June. On Wednesday, Asheboro announced it’s a finalist city for the award.

“We are beyond excited for our community,” said David Smith, mayor of Asheboro. “A number of the initiatives highlighted throughout our application have been in the making for five to 10 years.”

The theme of this year’s competition is after school programs for at-risk youth. Asheboro leaders said it will highlight several programs that give kids something to do after school and away from school.

The Dream Center launched a few years ago by North Ridge Church. It offers free after school care for kids of two neighboring schools for parents who have to work.

“We offer tutoring, homework help,” said Pam Hyatt, director of the Dream Center. “We do a lot of STEM activities -- science, engineering and math activities. Some of the kids’ favorite activities revolve around technology.”

Asheboro also boasts several other programs that benefit kids like the Central Boys and Girls Club, the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA, Asheboro City Schools, Communities in Schools of Randolph County and the Randolph County Partnership for Children.

City leaders are also proud of a midnight basketball league at the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA.

The mayor said even though the focus of the application is on how the community helps at-risk youth, a growing downtown and being home to the only zoo in North Carolina are also points of pride that will be mentioned as the committee considers Asheboro.

The city will make its pitch for the All-America City title in June.