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Tag Archive | "youth center"

En Gedi Youth Center to open at City Impact in Cedar Springs

En Gedi, a local Cedar Springs Christ-centered non-profit organization established in 2009, has been providing a free after-school youth center for students in grades 6-8 for several years. It was previously housed at Red Hawk School but unable to open this fall due to the recent COVID guidelines for schools and outside organizations. 

The En Gedi Team recently met with City Impact Co-Directors Jonathan and Kelley Bergsma. With both organizations sharing in a common mission to serve our Cedar Springs Area, City Impact Board of Directors and En Gedi Board of Directors were eager to explore options for continuing the En Gedi after-school program at the City Impact facility located at 288 N. Main Street in downtown Cedar Springs. 

With both En Gedi and City Impact supported solely on local donations from area businesses and community members, they remain seated firmly in their faith this arrangement can work through the grace of God.  En Gedi’s annual fund-raising auction held each spring had to be cancelled in 2020 but is tentatively rescheduled for March of 2021. 

The Youth Center Executive Director Pastor Craig Owens will continue to oversee the program currently scheduled to begin on Monday, October 12 and run from 2:30 to 5 pm. However, students do not need to commit to the entire four days nor the entire time period. En Gedi is open to individual schedules that coincide with the youth center hours. All students in grades 6-8 from both Cedar Springs Public Schools (CSPS) and Creative Technologies Academy (CTA) as well as home-schooled and virtual learner students are welcome to attend. The Youth Center program doors are open Monday–Thursday when Cedar Springs Public Schools are in session. Strict standards following the recommended Kent County COVID guidelines, that coincide with CSPS and CTA rules, will be followed at the Youth Center.  More details can be found in the Youth Center Handbook available from Pastor Owens.

City Impact’s mini-bus/large van will be used for student transportation from both CSPS and CTA (if needed) to City Impact free of charge. Parents or guardians must pick up their students at City Impact no later than 5 pm. All parents or guardians must complete an application in advance to attend the youth center. This application can be found on the En Gedi website of EnGediYouthCenter.com or call Pastor Owens for more options. 

All youth center staff and volunteers are screened and supervised according to educational standards under the direct supervision of Pastor Owens. A van driver with a CDC license and one part-time staff are still needed. 

Daily schedules include indoor and outdoor physical activity, group discussions, board and computer games, as well as homework with monitored internet services available. It is hoped more opportunities will be provided as the recommended COVID guidelines change.  

“Building trusting relationships through mentoring and tutoring as well as having a lot of fun is our En Gedi objective,” said Pastor Owens. “As leaders within the youth center, we try to provide encouragement and safe options for this ‘after school time’ when students are often home alone due to working parents or guardians. Statistic show a high rate of drug use and bad choices occurring among middle school aged students during this unsupervised time at home,” he continued. 

“Now, with schools closing their buildings immediately after the last class, except for athletic practices, the youth center is a great option for our young people. En Gedi hopes to provide a safe and fun supervised place to hang out,” said Owens. 

Adult volunteers are needed at the Youth Center for any time slots they may have available to share.  If community members have a hobby or skill they are willing to share with the students please contact Pastor Owens.  Previous classes or demonstrations have included jewelry making, fire safety, guitar, and more. 

The Ladies and Men of Honor, a partner organization with En Gedi, will also conduct their meetings during Youth Center hours. This program promotes positive life leadership skills, community service, and Christian values. 

If you should have any questions surrounding the youth center please feel free to contact Pastor Owen by phone at 616.667.7773 or email at EnGediYouthCenter@gmail.com. Check out the En Gedi Facebook page and website of EnGediYouthCenter.com.  You can download the Youth Center Handbook and application on the website. 

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En Gedi accepted into KidCents program

En Gedi, a free, non-profit after-school youth center for students in 6-8th grades, has been accepted as a qualifying participant in Rite Aid’s KidCents Program. Rite Aid also donated $5,000 to kick off their support.

“Rite Aid has long been committed to helping communities live well,” explained assistant store manager Melinda Silliman.

Sharlene Kent, long time Rite Aid employee and Cedar Springs resident, has worked for about two years to identify a worthy non-profit organization to partner with Rite Aid on this program.

Kent said, “I am thrilled Pastor Craig Owens, En Gedi Youth Center Executive Director, applied and was accepted for this program. The Rite Aid Foundation’s mission centers around children’s health and well-being, having donated over $80 million to help kids. I felt En Gedi would align with Rite Aid’s mission. Now, our Cedar Springs area children will be recipients of funds from the Rite Aid Foundation.”

Rite Aid will continue to donate to En Gedi as their customers round up to the nearest dollar through KidCents.

En Gedi, a Christ-centered organization, serves an average of 65 students per day with approximately 120 individual students participating throughout the school year. Special high school and community events are also hosted to align with the En Gedi mission of strengthening the community through the building up of families.

All funding for En Gedi is provided through corporate and personal donations primarily at the annual Fund Raising Auction each spring.

“The KidsCents Program will be a wonderful opportunity for local residents to donate by simply saying “Round Up for En Gedi” when checking out by using their Wellness + Card at any Rite Aid store,” shared Owens. “This donation is greatly appreciated and will significantly help continue the efforts of the En Gedi team.”

For details on En Gedi visit the website of www.EnGediYouthCenter.com or Facebook. To learn how you can participate with the KidsCents Program just ask Sharlene Kent or any Rite Aid staff member.

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En-Gedi to host fundraiser

Mark your calendars now for a special event called “En-Gedi – Come Be Refreshed” on Friday, May 13 at 7 pm in the Cedar Springs High School. This event will serve as an opportunity to learn more about the En-Gedi youth center and earn much needed funding for this mission. A free Dessert Buffet/Cook-off with 15 area licensed caterers and area restaurants to be selected to provide an assortment of desserts. Attendees will vote for their favorite dessert. Local musicians are currently being interviewed for Christian music in the auditorium. The hallways will be lined with silent auction surprises. A 30-minute window will allow participants an opportunity to bid on items such as an autographed MSU basketball by Coach Tom Izzo, a guided turkey hunt by CTA’s Dan George, a one-night stay at W.W. Lodge, a spring lawn clean-up, golf packages, salon services, auto repairs, a desktop computer, and many more special items. Donations for the silent auction are still needed. No donation is too large or too small. The event will also provide an opportunity to “Support a Student” with a cash donation as well as a challenge to areas businesses to match the money earned in the silent auction. En-Gedi is hoping to raise about $10,000 and secure 25 volunteers during this first-ever event. It will be an opportunity to meet some of the young people attending En-Gedi and hear their story first hand.

Sue Wolfe will gladly pick up your donations if you call her at 696-2246, or you can mail it to 15290 Tisdel Ave, Cedar Springs. Or you can stop in and check out En-Gedi at Red Hawk Elementary on Monday through Thursday from 2:15-5 p.m. and see for yourself what is happening.

Volunteers are greatly needed one day a month or one day a week to just hang out at En-Gedi and serve as an adult who cares, while watching over the students.

En-Gedi’s website is www.En-GediYouthCenter.com or e-mail SueQ@hughes.net or EnGediYouthCenter@gmail.com.

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Youth center growing

En-Gedi, meaning “a place to be refreshed,” seems to have brought a breath of fresh air to the Cedar Springs Community as area residents and business professionals strive to provide the much-needed support to keep this community youth center alive.

En-Gedi provides 6-12th graders with a place to hang out, provide special events, mentoring, tutoring, intramural sports, and community service opportunities. The center is growing by leaps and bounds, with 85-plus kids attending every day, Monday—Thursday, from 2:15-5 p.m. at Red Hawk Elementary. With that many kids, an additional classroom was greatly needed, according to En-Gedi Director and Solon Wesleyan Youth Pastor, Tom Holloway.

The Mabie Family (Don, June, Chris, and Tim Mabie) recently stepped up to make that  happen with a second significant cash contribution after learning a fifth room was needed.

“We have over 200 students registered with En-Gedi now,” said Holloway. “Recently we had 110 students at En-Gedi all on one day. We keep outgrowing our space. En-Gedi has the general gathering room with a ping-pong table, video games, couches, and a pool table; the media center for reading, art, and tutoring; the computer lab for students to use and the food room/oasis room provides an area for snacks, drinks, board games, and a television.” He said that with the Mabie donation, a fifth room was added so a “Ga-Ga Ball” court could be assembled. “This is a smaller-scaled circular version of indoor soccer,” he explained. “The kids like some physical activity and this new game is both fast-paced and exciting. Volunteers will be painting and decorating the recently added rooms over spring break,” he added.

Holloway continued, “This youth center has been on the hearts and minds of many people within this community for several years. I believe God is leading this project which is why En-Gedi’s needs continue to be met one-by-one just when we need them the most.”

En-Gedi board member Sue Wolfe feels the same way. “We are so grateful for our local business supporters that have donated either funds or equipment for En-Gedi,” said Wolfe.  “Many individuals, the ministerial association, and churches have donated money and volunteered hours to En-Gedi, which is a non-profit Christ-centered 501c3 organization. We are very grateful for the outpouring of support,” she added.

Most recently, CAN (Community Action Network) decided to assist En-Gedi by volunteering. “This exemplifies En-Gedi’s vision of working together with organizations already in place to help students make positive life choices and under the belief the community is Better Together,” explained Wolfe.

Read more in next week’s Post about a special event to be held on May 13 at Cedar Springs High School at 7 p.m. called “En-Gedi—Come be refreshed.” You won’t want to miss it!

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