PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Local officials have said investing in activities and opportunities for youth could help curb the root of the problem with teen crime. It’s a notion the YMCA of South Hampton Roads is taking action on.

“Every moment you have in your life can change the trajectory for that person, and we always say that every child is one caring adult away from being a success. And our buildings are filled with caring adults,” said Chief Experience Officer of South Hampton Roads Amelia Baker.

That’s why local teens up to 18 years old will now have a chance to get a free membership at the Y as part of an effort to bring kids together out of the house and off the streets.

“A lot of the times, they’re latchkey kids, or there’s nothing for them to do after school, or the after-school activities are gone. I feel like an idle mind is the devil’s playground,” said resident Ramona Neal.

The program will run from June to August with teen-specific programs. Those interested can fill out an online membership form on their website or visit one of their locations with a parent or guardian.

“One of the most important things for young people is recreation… When you’re home without supervision, you start doing things you have no business doing,” said Portsmouth resident Stanford Granger.

You can also help. Anyone can sponsor a teen by donating $25 for one month or $75 for the summer.

“That’s key to know all these people are surrounding you and want to provide this access,” added Baker.