KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Construction on the new Youth For Christ teen recreational center on Main Street began earlier this year. Then in March construction stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, since then, it's resumed. Thursday they revealed their plans to the public and gave guided tours.
“To have this in our community is just really exciting,” said Patsy Moore, who’s on the board of directors for Youth For Christ. “This vision has been a vision for many, many years and to see it come to fruition is really just a blessing.”
Moore was one the first to speak at the podium during Thursday's press conference. Local politicians, including Mayor David Anderson and Congressman Fred Upton, attended the presser held in the parking lot of the building.
“The vision is that this would be a magnet not only for our youth but adults to come and to pour into our youth,” Moore said during an interview with FOX 17. “We want it to be a safe place. We want it to be a nurturing place. We want it to be an encouraging place. We want it to be a place to help young people to become who they’ve been created to be.”
So, the organization plans to offer a wide variety of classes for teens ranging from cooking to arts and crafts to financial literacy. They hope it becomes a second home for teens on the Eastside, a place were they can escape violence, they said.
“I think sometimes when young people don’t have an opportunity to be young people, it builds up tension and they kind of revert to other things that’s not healthy for them,”said James Harris, pastor of Trenches Community Church. “So this is a healthy environment and will assist them in their development.”
The recreational center is scheduled to open in January 2021. They said it’ll cost $3,000,000 to complete. So far, through donations and pledges they've raised just over $2,000,000.
They’re hoping the community will help provide the rest.
“The vision is to see young people lives changed,” Harris said. “I think somebody said ‘young people of tomorrow,’ but we need our young people to lead today.”