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, but we have three youth members on our Board of Directors. They are all actively involved in not only the development of the youth center but the day to day functioning.
One member of our Board of Directors, 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 has a disease called Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis or RRP. Dylan lives with tumors actively growing in his air passages, some near his voice box, that obstructs his airways. Treatment of this disease requires him to have frequent surgeries to scrap the tumors off, and as you would expect, his voice is impacted by this treatment.
Because of his experience, he has experienced feeling like the “strange” kid, someone that people would look 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 has used this experience and become a voice and leader in this project because he wants 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 recently hired Executive Director, Jess Rosa. Jess has a phenomenal ability to connect with teens, a huge heart, and is a wish come true for our organization. We needed someone that could handle all the day to day tasks, build relationships with kids and in the community, and is organized, all necessary skills to take on this significant position.
We have been blessed by the generosity of this community over and over, the Spud Fest committee, the Big Lake Lions, The Big Lake American Legion, Casey’s, Old National Bank, and countless individuals. Please check Our Sponsors page and see what a wonderful community we are part of.
One of our latest’s gifts came in the form of a pledge from Bob Eddy to match up to $24k of community donations to cover the construction costs of our space.
If everyone who visits our website could give just $20 right now by clicking on the donate button below, we would be even closer to meeting our match. Will you join us on this community project?