The Center for Whitley County Youth has undergone numerous renovations during the summer months. Pictured is the auditorium with its new paint and soon-to-be finished second-story audio-visual booth (left) with concession stand below. Post & Mail photo / Christie Barkley
COLUMBIA CITY â€” Cultivating relationships is the motivation behind every decision made at The Center for Whitley County Youth â€” even when choosing paint color.
â€śTo some it might seem like its just paint and drywall, but thereâ€™s a purpose to what weâ€™ve done here,â€ť said Jeff Wike, The Centerâ€™s executive director. â€śEven building a concession stand was done in a way to see relationships grow.â€ť
Something as simple as creating a space to â€śhang outâ€ť could spur a positive conversation and connection between teens and adult volunteers.
â€śBefore these renovations, we just had a table for concessions,â€ť Wike said. â€śKids had to get their snacks and move on. Now, they can sit at a counter and maybe have the opportunity to talk or get to know a volunteer who could make a real difference in their lives.â€ť
With grants and fundraising monies, The Center received several touch-ups. A new paint job in the auditorium created a more youthful appearance and vibrant environment.
â€śItâ€™s little things like this that make kids see that we care enough about them to give them a space that they can be proud of,â€ť Wike said. â€śCould we have gone on doing what we do without all of this work? Probably, but the fact is that we have to maintain this building and stretch the lifespan of what is a century old structure.â€ť
Recently The Centerâ€™s facility was paid off, allowing for more monies to be invested in student programming.
However, due to the extensive renovations, The Centerâ€™s after school programming is delayed in its annual start up until October.
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