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Change the Mentality founder hopes for help after vandals trash his community center

Posted: 6:28 PM, Jul 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-19 18:28:40-04

A group of volunteers say they are trying to lead youth in our community, but vandalism is holding their mission back.

They operate the Change the Mentality Center on East Outer Drive on Detroit’s East Side.

Dennis Foster, a Change the Mentality founder, got a call on Sunday as he attended church.  A passerby who knew him saw a group of kids breaking in. Foster rushed to his building to find devastating damage.

“They knew exactly where to go to take the computers, and other items,” said Foster.

Foster imagines they took part in his programs. He runs a summer camp here. They took the video games that used to be in the room where they came in, then broke windows above a door to get into the rest of the building.

They threw toys, dumped dirt everywhere, and toilet papered the halls. They took a sledge hammer to toilets, flooding the place.

They busted surveillance cameras.

They stole computers, bicycles, basketballs and food out of the fridge for campers.

Foster says he had to call parents who send kids to a summer camp here and tell them, if you have care for your kids, don’t send them to camp. We can’t handle everyone due to the damage. 

The camp he and others fund with donations to make a difference dropped from 50 kids to about 10 this week.

Foster is asking for help from the community getting back up and running. He is hoping a plumber will volunteer to help him fix the numerous toilets busted with a sledgehammer. 

Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/2fawamqk .

Foster has a message for the kids responsible.

“This camp was for you. It is free. I spend money out of my pocket to make it possible. I want you to come back. Do community service. Return what you took. We’re just trying to get you to go down another path. You made your mistakes. Now we want to show you there is another way,” said Foster.

He says he doesn’t want the kids responsible to face jail, but he would like to see them take responsibility, and as his program is titled, “Change the Mentality.”