WGAP’s Community Youth Center began in 1994 as a recreational and educational drop-in center for at-risk youth. Over the last 20 years the Center has become a community resource and an integral part of the community’s efforts to provide multiple options for all children. Fully equipped for fun with a pool table, foosball and
ping pong tables, five computers with limited internet access, video and board games, music, Guitar Hero, books, and lots of furniture to just relax.
The Center also offers lots of activities: art projects with a local artist; Dinner Night sponsored by a NAILBA grant; Girl’s Circle by the Domestic Violence Prevention Program; all types of workshops; opportunities to provide community service, and much more. In the summer, the primary activity is swimming at the local pool paid for by a special grant from United Way.
WGAP is a fiscal sponsor of Gorge MakerSpace a place where young people learn science and technology by making cool stuff. Many MakerSpace classes are held at the Youth Center!
WGAP Community Youth Center Goes Into Business
As funding has become an issue, Youth Center members decided they needed to raise some money themselves. They sought donations of food dehydrators and produce. The members dry the produce and package it for sale at events, stores and the Farmer’s Market. They also planted a garden of herbs and vegetables to sell.
Organizers of the Farmer’s Market were so impressed with their efforts that the Center was offered the opportunity to manage the Community Table. The Community Table accepts product from growers who let the Youth Center sell it for them. The grower collects their money minus a 10% fee that is donated to the Center. The members have been doing such a wonderful job that in the 2014 season, the grower now contributes 15% to the Youth Center. The members have created a micro enterprise and are learning to handle money, customer service and marketing skills. Perhaps most important, Center members are contributing to efforts to keep the Community Youth Center open.