Milton youth center seeks help with efforts to reopen

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Neil Johnson
Friday, June 28, 2013

— A Milton youth center is hoping a community appeal will help raise enough money to reopen its doors as a permanent, brick-and-mortar facility.

The Milton Area Youth Center—a faith-based, nonprofit after-school center that serves kids in seventh, eighth and ninth grades on weekdays—opened in 2011 in rented space in the basement of Old Main at the former Milton College.

But the center was shuttered in March after CrossPointe Church, which had housed it since 2012, relocated.

Now the youth center is on the hunt for a home of its own. Director Pamela Thomas said she and the youth center's board are appealing to the community to help it raise $100,000 to help buy a building that would permanently house the center.

Reaching that goal would allow the center to match a $100,000 commitment from an unnamed investor Thomas said is interested in fronting money to help the project.

The center has not named the donor, and it has not disclosed potential locations that could house the center.

This spring, the center raised just more than $75,000 through a fundraising campaign. Thomas said the center has until Monday to reach $100,000.

The center had served about 40 students a day, offering after-school activities, tutoring, mentoring, snacks and even meals. But along with its lack of a home, the center has seen waning volunteer support—with its initial core of about 75 volunteers in 2011 falling to about 15 or 20 just before the center was shuttered.

"We are in a situation where, if we don't raise these funds, the community could lose a very vital resource for the local youth," she said.

According to police data, since the youth center opened, the city has seen truancy and underage drinking reduced by about 5 to 8 percent, and vandalism has dropped by about 15 percent.

Just before it closed, the center had launched a tutoring program that targeted students' individual learning styles, Thomas said.

Last updated: 7:52 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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