Big Keith’s House – Organization keeps youths busy after school
He is known simply as Big Keith, and his work to make his adopted hometown a better place recently earned him the distinction of having a day, Feb. 18, named in his honor by City Councilman Ricki Barlow.
Originally from New York City, Big Keith came to Las Vegas in 1998 to be closer to relatives and raise his son in a better environment. Inspired by his five sisters, he quickly decided to dedicate much of his time to working with local youths.
“My sisters didn’t do anything for me,” he explained. “They taught me to do for myself so that I would be self-sufficient. That made a tremendous impact on me, and now I try to teach some of the kids in our community how to do positive things for themselves. Councilman Barlow calls me ‘The Fisherman.’ I show our youth who come to the Cambridge Community Center how to fish, instead of giving them a fish.”
His organization, Big Keith’s House, is a subsidiary of the community center’s Off the Street program. It is geared toward providing children with after-school activities.
“For seven years now we have worked in the Cambridge Community Center, working with the children on computers, basketball, baseball and all different kinds of activities,” said Keith. “We have a couple of kids that were writing, and I thought they were writing a rap song — but they told me they were writing poetry. We have a couple of children who discovered they could play a musical instrument, and now they both play the cello in their school’s band.”
For parents, Keith offers simple, common-sense advice. “You have to keep children busy and open their minds up to all possibilities for personal growth,” he said. “Children learn from what comes out of the home. If you leave the top off of the toothpaste, then it is possible that your child will do the same.”