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30 Oct Lisa Fitzpatrick and APEX

Story #18
Air Date: October 30, 2013

In 2010, Lisa Fitzpatrick started APEX Youth Center in New Orleans after seeing kids in her neighborhood getting hurt and killed in gang related violence. She quit her job as an executive at a health-care company, her and her husband Danny sold their home, cars, and used their savings and retirement to fund the non-profit.

Helping at-risk youth is something Lisa’s been longing to do. When Lisa was in her 20s and living in Oklahoma she was a victim of gang violence. When she was a passenger in a car pulling up to a convenience store, a kid pulled a gun out and shot her, just grazing her face.

“It was a gang initiation, it was shoot a random person day, apparently, I was it. It was kill or be killed, I was collateral damage,” said Lisa.

All day during summer, after school, and even after dark, the Apex doors are open, providing a safe place, for the more than 300 kids that are enrolled.

They provide about 30 breakfasts, 100 lunches during the summer, and 40 dinners a day. At APEX kids and teens have access to mentoring, tutoring, and community service opportunities designed to prepare them to be productive New Orleans citizens.

Operating on a minimum budget, there’s still work that needs to be done, like at least $5,000 in repairs to the kitchen.

With the $50,000, Lisa says she’ll be able to offer more children a safe place to come at APEX, which stands for Always Pursuing Excellence, and their motto: reconciliation never retaliation.