On March 24, over 1,200 people roasted marshmallows at the reservoir. Some families were not from around Marion. Some might have had children interested in checking out the Central Station Youth Center on the east side of Main Street.
The center was not open that night because there were no adult volunteers willing to supervise activity that night.
“The demand from the kids is there,” volunteer Terry Monasmith said. “The kids who use it expect it now.”
Wade Monasmith is at the center every weekend his family stays in Marion. Adam Kjellin, 14, said the center provides a place to hang out, use the Internet, and at least meet with friends to make plans for later in the evening.
On Friday, a day when many Marion children were traveling, seven kids were in the center by 8 p.m. Traffic at the center can be sporadic, Terry Monasmith said, with only three children one night, but it can also be full with nearly 15 teenagers. Mostly middle school-aged students use the center thus far, Terry Monasmith said.
“It gives them something to do in a positive way,” volunteer Erica Monasmith said. “You know they’re out of trouble.”
As Terry Monasmith went through the calendar with volunteers listed for the two shifts, 7 to 9 and 9 to 10:45 p.m., for Fridays and Saturdays, the same names kept popping up.
The Monasmiths said Mike and Holly Pereillo took every late shift right after the center opened. Another dedicated couple are Allison and Darren Shults. Allison Shults was organizing the volunteer process but was told to stop because the center had no money to pay her. She did not have an opportunity to say she would do the work on her own time.
City employee Rick Burky was another name that cropped up on the list.
“He gives up his weekends to come in and work and he doesn’t even have kids,” Terry Monasmith said.
The volunteers have been dedicated but with their own children are scarcely able to supervise the center for every available shift.
“If we don’t get more help, we could shut it down,” Terry Monasmith said.
The Monasmiths are in preliminary stages of organizing a secondary opening event to showcase the center for a weekend day at the beginning of summer. They said some parents do not realize the center is open. A date for the event has yet to be determined.
“If everybody who says they believe in this town would donate two hours a week, it would keep kids from around the streets,” Terry Monasmith said.