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New volunteers resurrect MAC youth center

News editor

The Marion Youth Center, operated by Marion Advancement Campaign, has new life after an article in the Marion County Record brought forward volunteers to re-open the facility.

“The article you ran two weeks before motivated some folks to come forward to help restart the youth center,” MAC president Todd Heitschmidt said.

Brooke and Justin Lenhardt volunteered to manage the facility, and Heitschmidt said they’re not alone.

“They have agreed to step up and be our managers and work with the other volunteers that are stepping forward,” Heitschmidt said. “Most of them are new to helping at the center, and I imagine there may be more who will step up now.”

The Lenhardts moved from Arizona to Marion in January to be close to Brooke’s family.

“Her family moved here nine years ago when she was 14, and she went to high school here,” Justin Lenhardt said.

Justin said he has worked in high schools as a math tutor while going to college, and he works as a paraprofessional for Marion County Special Education Cooperative at Marion High School. He said Brooke has been a youth group leader in church.

“We just love working with youth,” Justin Lenhardt said.

The Lenhardts worked as missionaries for three months this summer with youth in the Czech republic, and Justin said they are excited to be involved with the youth center.

“We are starting to get together some people and trying to figure out how to get the center back up and running,” Justin Lenhardt said.

Heitschmidt said the first step is to obtain the appropriate clearances for the Lenhardts and other volunteers.

“With any adult that’s working there we require background checks, so we’re going through the formalities of getting things in place so they can reopen as quickly as possible for the youth,” Heitscmidt said.

A concern that hasn’t changed is the overhead expense of operating the center.

“We need community support to help cover the overhead expenses,” Heitschmidt said. “We talked with Brooke and Justin about that, that they would need to work on raising funds to cover those costs. I have had a parent contact me about giving some financial support. Nothing’s finalized yet, but given their interest, I think we will have some funding to help kick this off for the first several months.”

While Heitschmidt said MAC would move as quickly as possible to re-open the center, a specific timeline has not yet been established.

Last modified Sept. 24, 2014

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