Central Florida Strong: New Image Youth Center help kids succeed in life

ORLANDO, Fla. — Inside the New Image Youth Center in Paramour, staff members are unboxing used laptops donated by Advent Health, and outside, they’re building an octagon.

The Center is preparing for its first mixed martial arts tournament. The tournament was organized to teach kids discipline and bring positive mentors into their lives.

For 18 years the New Image Youth Center has been giving kids a place to grow.


Dr. Shanta Barton-Stubbs started the center in 2004 after she noticed the kids playing in the street next to her family’s church.

“I was trying to identify my life at 21 years old in college, soon to graduate and was just trying to figure out my life’s path, and then New Image happened,” Barton-Stubbs said. “Originally, it was just to provide a safe space for a few youth in the Paramour community. It’s very humbling to see where we are now. It was not the goal. But now it is the goal. And it is our goal to continue to do what we’re doing but only better.”

The youth center has grown into a three-building facility providing activities, resources and even meals for dozens of kids every day.

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“Now is the time that our youth need us the most. We’re seeing many programs fail or not being able to keep their doors open,” Barton-Stubbs continued. “And our youth need programming that’s going to help them develop and continue to make them who they need to be.”

In one room of the facility is a wall with photos of some of the success stories like Robertson Bassy, who graduated from Boone High School, then from Morehouse College, and is now Dr. Bassy.

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And it’s stories like these that inspired the Orlando Magic to donate $90,000 to the New Image Youth Center recently. It’s part of the Devos family initiative to donate $3 million to 30 charities in Central Florida, celebrating 30 years of owning the team.

“We’re just grateful because it helps us. This donation is not only just for the center, but it’s for the families we serve, which means it is for the entire community,” Barton-Stubbs said.

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Barton-Stubbs said they’re looking for ways to make their programs mobile, including a bus that will take them directly to different neighborhoods.

She said they’re always looking for community partners to create even more opportunities for the kids, so they can keep adding photos to the wall.

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Joe Kepner

Joe Kepner, WFTV.com

I unloaded the U-Haul in Orlando in 2008, just in time to cover the Magic's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.

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