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Your interests could interest Lincoln's youth

Center needs volunteers
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Know and Go What: Lincoln Youth Center Where: 391 H St. When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday To volunteer at the center, call Claire Luke at 253-3711 or Harriet Garland at 543-0541. The center is looking for activities such as but not limited to crocheting, knitting, gardening, woodworking, sports, physical fitness classes, dance, photography, crafts, games, sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, paper crafts and other hands-on projects. Calling all residents: your hobby or favorite craft project could mean the difference between bored and entertained kids this summer. The Lincoln Youth Center is looking for volunteers to lead programs and projects, according to Harriet Garland and Claire Luke, who are helping the center as ?concerned and interested citizens? find help. The center recently received $8,000 in grant money from the United Auburn Indian Gaming Fund , according to Police Activities League executive director Steve Krueger, which means the doors will be open for three hours, three days a week through the summer. The Youth Center is sponsored by the Police Activities League. Lincoln?s Rotary Club has also pledged $5,000 to the center. ?What we?re shooting for is a self-sustaining model,? Krueger said. Once we get everything going strong, we?d like to ideally open four days a week during the summer and then hopefully everything carries over (to the school year) and we?ll be well-established.? Krueger said he is ?glad? for the effort by Luke and Garland to bring nonprofits, community organizations and churches together to find a way to keep the youth center open. ?Claire and Harriet spearheaded this and wanted to put together a coalition of many groups,? Krueger said. ?The idea behind it was to think of a way to continue to finance (the Youth Center) and keep the doors open and lights on and beyond and get more volunteers to come in with specific programming ideas.? Krueger said he?d like to see volunteers at the center on a regular basis to provide ?continuity and consistency for the kids.? ?Our focus now is two-fold,? Garland said. ?We need more money and just as important, we need bodies.? A paid staff member is always present when the center is open, according to Luke. ?(Volunteers) don?t have to feel that they?re in charge of the kids. There will be a director at the center at all times,? Luke said. Volunteers are needed to lead projects and activities, according to Garland. She will teach cooking and Luke will help with cooking classes and game days. ?We need hands-on classes, art and stuff they can build,? Garland said. ?We would love for someone who knows chess, dominos, and Scrabble. We need projects.? Luke said the center is looking for residents ?willing to share their interests.? ?People may not realize or think they are talented,? Luke said. ?Anything people sit and do is a talent. If someone has a project or idea, we will make sure it happens.? Those volunteering their talents should be prepared to make a commitment for the summer. ?We are scheduling (activities) so the kids know what is happening,? Garland said. ?They have to know if it?s on the schedule, it?s going to happen because, if not, it?s another disappointment for a lot of them.? Luke said that activities at the youth center are ?the kinds of things that stay with kids for all of their lives? and make them feel that they will ?have a fit somewhere as an adult.? ?We want to make sure they know someone is interested in them,? Luke said. The activities will ?help build self-esteem,? according to Garland. Having a place such as the Youth Center and activities to participate in this summer will also impact Lincoln as a whole, according to Garland. ?It?s so important to get people?s interest and understand that kids need a safe place and consistent place to go, or they end up on the streets and getting in trouble,? Garland said. The Lincoln News Messenger profiles a nonprofit organization every week. To see an organization featured, please call 774-7967 or e-mail stephanied@gold countrymedia.com.