COLUMBIA CITY — Cultivating relationships is the motivation behind every decision made at The Center for Whitley County Youth — even when choosing paint color.
“To some it might seem like its just paint and drywall, but there’s a purpose to what we’ve done here,” said Jeff Wike, The Center’s executive director. “Even building a concession stand was done in a way to see relationships grow.”
Something as simple as creating a space to “hang out” could spur a positive conversation and connection between teens and adult volunteers.
“Before these renovations, we just had a table for concessions,” Wike said. “Kids 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.”
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.
“It’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,” Wike said. “Could 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.”
Recently The Center’s facility was paid off, allowing for more monies to be invested in student programming.
However, due to the extensive renovations, The Center’s after school programming is delayed in its annual start up until October.
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