Entertainer Tyler Perry has jumped into the controversy of a Pennsylvania swim club that cancelled pool privileges to a mostly minority day care center -- he's sending them to Disney World.
On June 29, about 65 kids from the Creative Steps day care center, most of them black and Hispanic, paid their first -- and what turned out to be last -- visit to the Valley Swim Club in suburban Philadelphia. The day care center had originally contracted to use the pool during the summer, but the club cancelled the agreement and returned the day care center's $1,950 check without explanation.
John Duesler, the head of the club, explained his decision to cancel the camp's contract: "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion... and the atmosphere of the club." After the comment brought protesters outside the facility, Duesler said, "That was a terrible choice of words, I admit." He explained concerns about safety and overcrowding, and a lack of lifeguards, was the reason for the cancellation. He said he cancelled contracts with two other day care centers as well, and they haven't complained.
After word got out, Duesler invited Creative Steps back to the club. It's operators refused, and are now pursuing a lawsuit.
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Word also got to Perry, who decided to do something about it. "This made me so angry," he wrote on his Web site. "This is awful, and for anyone that has grown up in the inner-city, you know that one small act of kindness can change your life. I want them to know that for every act of evil that a few people will throw at you, there are millions more who will do something kind for them. This is all about the kids."
The kids will take the trip to Disney World August 1-3, with all expenses paid by Perry.