Youth for Christ aims to inspire hope in Hillyard | Community Spirit
A ping-pong table, couches galore and a six-screen video game center. Add a state-of-the-art music studio and plans to build an enclosed skateboard park in the parking lot and you have a young person's dream hangout.
That's what Tom Davis, director of Spokane Youth for Christ, was hoping to create for the new Hillyard Youth Center. The Hillyard location is YFC's second neighborhood post and was made possible due to the success of the West Central branch. YFC chose West Central and Hillyard because they are home to the most needy children in Spokane.
The Hillyard Center was originally an auto repair shop until it was donated to YFC in 2009, after renovations were completed, the center had a soft opening and has been serving youth in the area ever since.
Davis said his primary goal is to inspire.
“Regardless of your faith, if a kid has hope, it is going to help their school work and their daily lives,” Davis said.
Director of Hillyard Center and Community & Church Engagement Rodney McAuley said that the group tries to teach kids through a relational context.
“It's about building trust, so we can achieve our goal of bringing hope where there was hopelessness,” he said.
A grand opening is tentatively planned for early summer. But, the center still offers programs so kids have a place to spend time after school. Anywhere between 15 and 60 kids show up for the center's after-school drop-in program. Davis said there are 3,500 children between the ages of 11 and 19 in the area, and that he sees between 500 and 1,000 of those kids.
The YFC aims to strengthen the whole self – spiritually, physically and mentally – and employs numerous avenues to achieving that: Whether it be through direct mentoring or through working on something together like creating music.
“Music is a universal language,” Davis said.
But kids have to earn studio time by attending other programs and doing well in school, and Davis is mulling whether the skate park will be operated under the same conditions.
YFC will break ground on the project sometime in February depending on the weather.
Davis and YFC use several different approaches to raising money – from accepting donations from businesses, churches and families to renting out studio time to interested artists. Click here if you are interested in donating.
YFC hopes to continue reaching and affecting the lives of more children everyday.
“As cool as the skate park is going to be, and as blessed as we are to have this great building, these are just tools for reaching these kids,” McAuley said.