The Story of Epic Center Community Organization (ECCO)
Everyday millions of youth leave school with nowhere to go, leaving them vulnerable to destructive activities such as committing a crime, being violent to others, joining gangs, having premature sex, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Some youth are able to make it (become successful) but unfortunately a lot don’t. We created a youth center called Epic Center Community Organization (ECCO) to take youth off the streets and provide them with a safe and positive environment.
Founder of ECCO Michael Sengyothinh knows first hand of the struggles facing today’s youth in the area. “Growing up in the *Layton Boulevard West Neighborhood (LBWN) had its up and downs. Gangs and drugs littered the streets and shootings and violent acts were common. It was difficult to find a safe place to hang out, especially during the winter months. Nearby churches were available from time to time but not on a consistent basis. Traveling over a mile to find youth activities was not out of the norm. We were fortunate enough to make the right decisions and didn’t fall victim to the gang lifestyle, ” says Michael.
Michael continues, “Since 2000, I’ve been working and volunteering in several community centers, schools and churches. Gaining enough knowledge and experience in the nonprofit sector, I decided it was time to start a nonprofit organization. Hard work paid off and the long term goal was a success.”
*LBWN brings together three neighborhoods: Silver City, Burnham Park, and Layton Park. It is bounded by Pierce Street on the north, Lincoln Avenue on the south, Layton Boulevard on the east, and Miller Park Way on the west.