Winston-Salem anti-gang program expanding into after school classes

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Students at Flat Rock Middle School in Winston-Salem are getting a chance to sign up for extra class time at the end of their school day and they're jumping at the chance.

This fall, the school has allowed the S.T.A.R.S. program to expand and begin offering after school classes to go along with the in-school mentoring classes that have been underway for the last two years. Sixty students have signed up for the classes with even more on the waiting list.

"I definitely think that any school would benefit from a partnership that pulls in people from the community," said Beck Hodges, the principal at Flat Rock.

The program's goal is to bring mentors and community partners together with students to help diffuse the influence of gangs on middle school children. The classes cover a wide array of subjects from life building skills to culinary arts.

"It gets you a head start before you get to high school so you can already be prepared," said Tymarrah Bubose, an eighth grader at Flat Rock.

Middle school students at East Forsyth and Philo Hill will get the opportunity to sign up for classes this spring.

Winston-Salem State University's Center for Community Safety is behind S.T.A.R.S. It would like to get more churches and businesses involved as mentors or sponsors to keep the program free for students.

Visit the S.T.A.R.S. website for more information.

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