NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The new Muhiyidin D’Baha Learning Academy is helping underprivileged youth expand their education and gain access to resources they don’t have at home.
Nesting inside the Community Resource Center-North Charleston, the Muhiyidin D’Bjaha Learning Academy is set to open in November.
“This is something we have been working to accomplish for months,” said Jonathan Thrower, Founder of the Muhiyidin D’Baha Learning Academy.
Thrower is a community activist whose mission is to help underprivileged children and their families throughout the tri-county area.
“We wanted to give them a sense of who they are,” Thrower said.
The academy was a goal thrower and the late community and civil rights activist Muhiyidin D’Baha had before D’Baha was murdered a year ago. now, Thrower is carrying out the mission they set out on.
“We thought our children were being under-educated,” Thrower said. “We felt like the resources weren’t there, so we talked about African liberation schools where we can give children a more holistic form of education.”
Now that dream is coming true. As a part of the Community Resource Center, the combined effort between Thrower and community activist Lous Smith will help thousands in the community. The center and academy is a one-stop community shop. There is a food pantry, a dress for success clothing closet, diapers and more. There will also be a basketball court, a community garden, an opportunity for people to get jobs and more.
“We’re hitting the community on a level that they need to be hit on,” Smith said.
Smith is the Executive Director of the resource center. This is the second center he opened in the tri-county area. The first one is located in Summerville and has been operating for nine years.
“I hope people say this place is different,” Smith said. ” I hope they say this place really cares about me.”
Although the doors of the center and the academy are not officially open just yet, they have already made an everlasting impact on the North Charleston community.
“Just Wednesday we gave out fresh fruit and vegetables to at least 1200 families in the area,” Smith said.
The center is strategically located in the heart of southern North Charleston where many see a lot of crime and poverty. The center and academy are hoping to change that demographic around.
In order to get to this point, Thrower and Smith did not do all of this on their own. Charleston County officials helped secure the building which only requires the center to pay $1/year. Chief Eric Watson with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office got the department to donate money to fund the basketball court that will go outside of the center. Attorney David Aylor donated desks for the academy. Many other local organizations and activists are also pitching in to help.
“This is a great cause,” David Aylor, Attorney, said. “This is investing in something. You’re investing in people that will be a part of your community, there’s no better investment than that.”
Thrower said he hopes this new opportunity will help children in North Charleston gain a positive outlook on life and grow.
“I want people to know you can turn it around you can do better,” Thrower said.