“It is just a phenomenal opportunity for our city,” Tri-Cities Family YMCA Executive Director Dean Buntley said. “That after-school time for kids is when they’re most at-risk.”
Buntley said he was excited when approached by this year’s Leadership Connect class to construct the teen venue. He said it was something he’d wanted to do in the past but couldn’t, due to funding limitations.
The project will provide a space where students in grades 7-12 can interact with their peers, and engage in safe recreation and social activities.
“We felt really compelled to focus our energy on the youth,” project co-chairwoman Jane Anderson said. “The Y wanting to collaborate was wonderful.”
Anderson said there is currently no place to send kids for free, family-based activities in the Tri-Cities.
“To those of us who work with families, we see those limitations,” she said.
The YMCA will staff the program and engage teens in after-school activities. Teens will not need a YMCA membership.
Leadership Connect received $12,000 from the Marion A. and Ruth K. Sherwood Family Fund and Greatest Needs Fund of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, and they are also starting a fundraising effort.
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