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YWCA updates teen outreach center at new location

The GRIT Center opened in 2020 with the purpose of providing teens and kids a safe space to do homework, play games, read or get help with any issues they are dealing with.

Posted: Jul 1, 2021 4:29 PM
Updated: Jul 2, 2021 9:03 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The YWCA St. Joseph recently purchased the New Life Church located directly across the street from the non-profit's current building. 

The goal of the purchase is to carry over programs and establish new services to offer to the community.

The YWCA's staple teen outreach program is one of the services making the leap across the street into the church. Upgraded to an additional 5,000 square feet, the church basement is now the new location for the teen GRIT Center.

''We've adjusted really well. Our staff has done a great job transitioning over here and spreading out and the kids have absolutely loved it so far," said GRIT Center Manager Prent Eaton. "The look on their face made it even more worth it to see this huge space compared to what they're used to," added Lindsey Fitch who is the the Community Outreach Coordinator for the center.

The original space in the YWCA was around 600 sq. ft., and the new space is well over 5,000, allowing room for more activities and kids to join.

"They were asking us every single day when they were going to get to move over here and have more space and more freedom," said Eaton. "We're just trying to create an environment where kids are here, they're having fun, but they're also kind of building a whole array of different skills and stuff like that."

The new location officially opened in June, and staff say they are already seeing an increase in new faces.

"There are kids showing up everyday that are new. We're going fast, way faster than we've even expected which is wonderful as well," said Fitch. CEO of YWCA St. Joseph, Tammy Killin, said around 50 teens have walked through the doors of the center, averaging around 15 a day.

The center is still a work in progress as is the rest of the church. Staff and volunteers are currently working on the space and expect to have an open house in August.

"It's been actually a really positive experience," said Fitch. "Everybody has been really wonderful. The kids are amazing. We're really excited about it."

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It was a pleasant start to the weekend with sunny skies and temperatures reaching the mid 60s. A cold front moving through the area will bring us down into the 30s for lows overnight with gusty winds up to 20 mph. This will keep our highs in the 50s on Sunday under mostly sunny skies with mild winds from the southwest. Temperatures will quickly start to warm up again on Monday with highs in the mid 60s. Rain chances look to stay minimal into next week. Temperatures are forecasted to stay above average for the first day of December on Wednesday.
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