(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Organizers of a South-side youth program have days to raise money for a new center.
Midland Ministries has been in existence since 1977 but the building it's housed in, is much older. Due to water damage, updates and a dream of being the place to be for St. Joseph's youth, Midland Ministries is turning to the community for donations.
MM has a youth division called Southside Youth Outreach, and it's ran by Jodi Brager. The youth center hosts bible clubs, rallies, summer camp, events, and a after-school program Monday through Thursday during the school year.
The center is located right across from Hyde Park in a building more than 100 years old. It's a heavily trafficked area by teenagers and children because it is within walking distance of five schools.
The outreach program at Midland has anywhere from 30 to over 100 kids and teens. But not all youth who walk by, come into the center.
“Kids are just wondering around, going wherever, unsupervised and they are getting into a lot of trouble,” Brager said.
She said there is a huge need for youth outreach in the south side of town.
“We see a lot of fights in the park, we know that kids are doing drugs over there,” Brager said.
Surprisingly, those are the kids Brager and the youth center want to reach the most.
“We want those kids to come into the Hyde-ing Place Youth Center and have a safe place to be," she said. "We want to feed them physically, spiritually, emotionally. We want to meet their needs wherever they are.”
But to attract that crowd, the center needs a makeover.
“A place that South-side teenagers, and really any teenagers, could be proud of, and be excited to go to,” Brager said.
The facility is outdated but the center's real problem is the water damage.
“When it rained that 9 inches last year and Hyde park flooded, we also had six inches of water in the basement,” Brager said.
Fixing water damage in a century old building is expensive. It means gutting walls, replacing doors, trim, kitchen cabinets, and purchasing new furniture.
That's why the center is turning to the community for help. Midland Ministries operates on donations. The Center does not have the $80,000 it costs to do the renovation work. But Brager is hoping the community will help with the project.
“We really need to get things going in order to be able to remodel and have it be ready by the time school starts,” she said.
Brager said they have already raised some of the money through grants, gifts and fundraisers. The center has about $35,000 total and
$45,000 to go. Just this week a donor called and told Brager they would match up to $10,000 of the funds raised in the next 30 days.
The youth leader said she hopes the center is able to pull this miracle off. She said a safe place for youth to go is desperately needed.
“This youth center will be a community center where all are welcome to come,” Brager said.