Teens create community center aimed at helping ex-felons, ex-drug dealers and ex-thieves in Midtown

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.  -- Instead of seeking revenge or retribution, friends of a recent homicide victim are creating their own community center in Midtown.

At 31st and Troost, the teens are working on what they call "The X-Church."

They call it a place for ex-felons, ex-drug dealers and ex-thieves.

Friends of 20-year-old Kameron Gay, who was killed at Peace Park earlier this month, are working to transform a building into a safe haven for teens that they say have been pushed out of their homes, their schools and from parks.

They are working on repairing the building, which includes a lot of cleaning and painting.

"They have decided to grab the negative and turn it around so no longer are their lives being dictated by the bad choices they make," said the Rev. Maurice Gay, the victim's father.  "Now they are starting to realize that things need to be done differently and think about the generation behind them."

Once complete, the center plans to offer art classes, talent shows and tutoring help for teens.

Volunteers also have committed to help teach their trades and mentor ex-offenders to get them on a better path in life.

The grassroots effort is being called part of the solution for violence in Kansas City. The more kids who pitch in and work together, the fewer are likely to be on street getting in trouble.