En-Gedi, the Cedar Springs non-profit based organization focused on strengthening families and providing a community youth center for students 6-12th grade, recently hired Pastor Craig Owens as the Interim Executive Director. Owens takes the place of En-Gedi’s first and only Executive Director Tom Holloway, who accepted the full-time position of Senior Pastor at Solon Wesleyan Church. Holloway continues to serve on the En-Gedi Board as well as volunteer at the youth center.
The after-school youth center has been operating out of Red Hawk Elementary as a Cedar Springs Public Schools Partner in Education since September 2010. Due to extremely high numbers of students participating, it was decided to separate the ages when the new school year started with Mondays and Wednesdays for 6th graders only and Tuesdays and Thursdays for 7-12th graders. En-Gedi’s youth center offers small group discussions, tutoring, monitored computer access for homework as well as serve as a cool safe place to hang out with ping-pong, pool, board games, octaball and other sports, art projects, and video games. A snack bar was added with a variety of food and drinks.
“Pastor Owens brings a great deal of experience in working with youth, commitment to our community and schools, and administrative expertise to our organization,” explained Sue Wolfe, En-Gedi Board Chairperson.
Owens is a Wayne State University and Oral Roberts University graduate currently serving as Pastor for Calvary Assembly of God Church. He, along with his wife and three children, live in Cedar Springs.
“I have followed En-Gedi through the development stage and always appreciated the purpose. Now, I am excited to be working more closely with such a promising organization,” said Owens.
“Craig is a wonderful gift to En-Gedi, our students, and community. He is already involved with many local organizations. The transition from Tom to Craig has gone well and the board is enthusiastically moving forward in securing a permanent Executive Director,” said Wolfe. “En-Gedi is ready to take a leap of faith into the next phase of organization’s goal to open a youth center room in the high school and middle school. We see the need and believe we should now move forward in expanding programs, services, and special events to our community’s youth and families. This next phase will require a full-time director.”
Pastor CJ Mauer, Worship Arts Pastor at the Springs Church, is the chair of the Director’s Search Committee. “We want to take the necessary time to find someone with a heart for youth and our community. We believe this is a local mission and we want to find the best possible person,” he explained.
The En-Gedi Board has given this committee a 6-month timeline to complete the process. Craig has agreed to serve as Interim Director during the entire search process.
In order to fund the only paid En-Gedi position of a full time director, the organization needs to secure necessary funding. Various ideas are being discussed which is dependent on the support of area residents, churches, and businesses. Jo Furhoff has been the first to step up with a donation. She, along with Barb Zahm, will be donating 100 percent of all profits from a Tastefully Simple fund-raiser. Tastefully Simple offers unique delicious food items that can be used as a gift or for personal consumption. Orders can be placed online by going to www.tastefullysimple.com/web/bzahm and entering En-Gedi as the host. Contact Sue Wolfe (696-2246) or Jo Furhoff (696-2435) for details. Deadline for orders is Friday, December 2.
En-Gedi is also preparing for the second annual “Come Be Refreshed Special Event” scheduled for Friday, May 13, which will include a silent auction of various items, entertainment, and a dessert buffet.
Donations are needed and will be greatly appreciated. They can be sent to En-Gedi through the Pay-Pal account on the website or by mailing them to 15290 Tisdel Ave., Cedar Springs, MI. To learn more about En-Gedi visit the website of www.En-GediYouthCenter.com, Facebook, or e-mail EnGediYouthCenter@gmail.com.