100 REASONS: Homework Hangout

Kamarion Harper, 7, front left, and his cousin Damarrea Jackson, 8, front right, visit with Santa Claus (Keith Anderson) and Mrs. Claus (Rosie Anderson) next to elf (Chris Brown) during the Homework Hangout Christmas Celebration in the Mrs. K Community Center in 2016.

Editor's note: The Herald & Review each day is listing a reason the Decatur region is loved. We're profiling people, places and history that are special to our region — and that make it a great place to live. See more here.

Homework Hangout Club has been a life line of activities and support for students in Decatur for more than two decades. It's currently housed in the Mrs K Community Center at 249 S. Webster Street, just east and south of downtown in the former St. James School.

The program is an after-school organization for students ages 6 to 18 led by tutors and educators. After they arrive at the center, the children devote time to their homework and crafts as well as recreational activities such as basketball and dodge ball.

During morning and early afternoon hours while the children are in school, the facility houses the pre-apprenticeship program for adults. The program provides training by journeymen in construction trades, such as plumbing, electrical and painting.

And 2016 marked the return of Homework Hangout after state budget cuts forced it to close two years ago. 

Rosie Anderson created Homework Hangout with her husband, Keith, in 1991. The two found the organization was still needed in the community and worked to get it back.

“These kids need the help,” Rosie Anderson said during last year's Christmas party as the club got back in business again.

“Many of them got into a lot of trouble,” her husband added.

The club also brought back a favorite event this year with a Halloween party. The event included glow-in the dark dance-offs, and a “wake the dead” howling contest.

According to Homework Hangout, the club has grown from a small program of eight kids operated out of Keith Anderson’s home into an organization that serves more 350 youth, young adults, and their families each year.

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