The Problem

Our town has a population of 850. In addition, our town is central to 3 other communities that commute to the junior and senior high school located in our town. The poverty rate in all four communities is above average. In our community, there is a lack of activities for youth. The youth in this town look to drinking, vandalism, and premarital sex for entertainment. Because most parents commute for work, there is a lack of parental supervision. Also, the town has restricted skateboarding due to damage that has been done to various properties. With increasing gas prices, it is becoming difficult for youth to drive 30 miles for the closest place of safe and supervised entertainment.

Plan of Action

My wife and I have served for two years as youth leaders at a local church in a small rural town in Iowa. During these two years, we have operated a youth center open to the community. We have lead seminars regarding abstinence and character building. We have lead the youth in volunteer opportunities such as serving a meal at a nearby homeless shelter and volunteering at a local clothing and food pantry. We established a leadership committee consisting of youth ages 12-15. We provide leadership training specifically to this group and help them plan events and run the facility for their peers. This leadership is made up of youth that aren't involved with school activities and do not receive much support from home. We have seen youth on this leadership committee and other that attend events increase in self-esteem and develop great leadership skills. We have seen youth making better decisions for their lives and looking outside of themselves in desire to serve those around us. We are now looking to relocate our facility and branch off from the church to better serve the entire community. There are many people in the community not currenlty involved who have expressed their desire to get more involved and support a community youth center.

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