Why We Are Passionate About Our Community and Youth
In recent years we saw a considerable divide developing between the youth in our community, particularly with the businesses and community members. So, we began holding conversations in the community with families, youth, and professionals about the needs of our youth. We found over and over again the same needs, which helped us to determine our areas of focus for the youth center.
Of course, The Wave Youth Center will be a place where students can come to decompress and hang out. But, just as important, it will be a place to go for support in the form of mentors in the areas of academic, life, social, and vocational skills. Because we are also extremely committed to this community, the youth are also actively involved in the community, helping others, and working with other community groups. We don’t want just to provide a hangout place; we want relationships to develop through the mentors and community involvement to build a healthy community.
Our commitment to the youth and the community is reflected in the diversity of our Board of Directors. Not only do we have professionals, parents, and business leaders on our board. We also have three youth that serve on our board of directors. The youth that serve are actively involved in not only the development of the youth center but the day to day functioning.
One youth member who served on our Founding Board of Directors and was an intricate member of getting The Wave Youth Center open; a 16-year-old young man named Dylan, shared his story with me and why he is committed and amped up about this project. Dylan lived with a disease called Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis or RRP. RRP causes tumors to grow in his air passages, some near his voice box, these tumors obstruct his airways. Treatment of this disease required Dylan to have frequent surgeries to scrap the tumors off, impacting his voice.
Because of his experience, Dylan often experienced feeling like the “strange” kid, someone that people looked at funny, things that made him feel like he didn’t have a place he truly belonged. Something many of us have experienced in our lives, and it is an awful feeling; it is so hard to be different in this world, especially when you are a kid.
Dylan used this experience and became a voice and leader in this project because he wanted to be part of creating a space where kids are accepted as they are and feel like they are safe and belong.
It is stories like Dylan’s and countless others that fill our hearts and minds, and it is what we are driven by.
We have been blessed by the generosity of this community over and over, Cargill, the Spud Fest committee, the Big Lake Lions, The Big Lake American Legion, Casey’s, Old National Bank, Connexus Energy and countless individuals. Please check Our Sponsors page and see what a wonderful community we are part of.
As a nonprofit, we are continually in the need for funding. If everyone who comes across our page could contribute $20 by clicking the button below we would be even closer to being fully funded.