- August 28, 2021
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Billy Clark knows the struggles young people face in this world. He has lived and survived them.
The local barber endured a rough childhood in DeRidder with themes of poverty, frequent evictions and moving constantly, hunger, alcoholism and drugs.
“I was always searching for a father figure and unfortunately, I was searching for that in the guys I was buying drugs from or leading me further in the wrong direction,” he said. “I never realized that until about five or six years ago, that I have been searching for a father figure my entire life.”
The path forward wasn’t an easy one, but Clark made it out to the other side and through it, garnered a knack for helping others, particularly youth.
As a youth minister at Christway Church in DeRidder, Clark works with around 30 teens each week. He is married to wife, Dorothea, and they have two teenagers themselves.
Clark’s day job is at Tony’s Barber Shop on Washington Ave. in downtown DeRidder. He is in the process of transitioning from apprenticeship to licensed barber. His plate is full, no doubt, but so is his heart — and vision.
“God has given me a vision and it is so massive that I question why he called me to do it,” Clark said.
You may remember Clark being featured in the local newspaper for his dream to start a youth community center.
If a cooperative endeavor is approved, the City of DeRidder will lease Clark the old BeauCARE building on High School Drive to develop a community center for teens.
“The Kingdom Center” would be an asset to the City of DeRidder, said Mayor Misty Clanton, and would fill a sore and longtime need.
“I have met with Billy. I think he is the right person to do this. It is a great undertaking. I do feel the community will get behind this effort,” Clanton said. “Our youth is our future, and we all have to work together for that future.”
Clark said he wants a fun and safe hangout setting with recreation and activities, all aimed at getting teens off the street and into a positive, constructive environment.
The old BeauCARE building has a large recreation room, restrooms and a kitchen area — all ideal for the center.
Clark has plans for pool tables, gaming consoles, projectors and sports activities. He also hopes to offer meals, events, programming with life-building skills and at some point, transportation.
“I just feel like it’s critical, it’s necessary to have in our town. Teens are going to find something to do, regardless, and if we don’t offer them something clean, fun and exciting, they will find something fun, exciting and not-so-clean,” Clark said.
Clark’s wife is by his side in the endeavor, and they feel they can cover center operations with a small staff and with the assistance of volunteers, including from his church.
“We want people who are going to model a good, solid role,” he said. “We want good examples to young people. We are going to hold them to a standard.”
A non-profit, 501(c)(3) has been formed and Clark is in the process of finalizing other legal requirements.
“I want everything to be just right because this will be a place to make a difference in the lives of young people,” he said.
𝑊𝑒’𝑟𝑒 𝑐ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑖𝑐𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝐹𝑎𝑐𝑒𝑏𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑝𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑑 “𝐻𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝐻𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠.” 𝐸𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑙 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑤𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑛@𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑦𝑜𝑓𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑑𝑑𝑒𝑟.𝑜𝑟𝑔.