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Cuyuna Range Youth Center is making a difference

Is the Cuyuna Range Youth Center making a difference in the lives of the young people of our community? Are we as a community making a difference in the lives of those same young people?

The answer to both questions is yes.

The Cuyuna Range Youth Center is a nonprofit organization. It operates solely by fundraisers, donations, contributions and grants from very generous people, all with a goal in mind of providing a safe place for our young people to be at, have fun and to learn things that will help them in life after school.

You/we, as a community, have made and are making a difference by donating your valuable time in many ways, monetary and food donations, and support of all kinds, all which are for the benefit of the youth to keep their dream going. We are very appreciative for everything you have done, are doing and will continue to do.

The youth center has been making changes as well. In September, Brad Hanson was hired as program coordinator. Since Brad has been working with the youth center, we have seen some amazing results. For example; the average daily youth count last year was 14 and this year we are over 50. The youth participating in community service, educational, fundraising, and recreational programs has tripled over the last year.

Brad will tell you that he is “just trying to help the youth center reach the vision that they set several years ago.” The success is due to all the wonderful, dedicated people behind the youth center, and to all the caring, loving people in the community that have donated their time and money to keep the dream going. It is about the kids, the community and the dream.” He also added that he is proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization and we are very thankful for all the wonderful people that volunteer, donate whatever they can and support the youth center. They are the reason that we are here.

The GO (Generational Opportunity) Program is just one of our highly successful youth and community driven programs. The objective of the GO program is to bring generations together for their mutual enrichment. GO offers a wide variety of intergenerational activities for seniors and youth. This program is in collaboration with the Care Center in Crosby.

We also have a unique “Reward Program,” a Progressive Youth Leadership Development Program, is designed to challenge and inspire the youth in our community and to help the youth achieve higher goals that lead to better futures for themselves while being connected to and giving back to the community in which they live. It is available to all youth (7th – 12th grade) who want to enhance their skills and abilities. It is also designed to create individual growth by building healthy friendships, exploring interests, and learning skills that enable them to make positive decisions throughout their lives. The youth earn special rewards for their participation and leadership in community and educational programs.

So you see, all of us are making a huge difference in the lives of our young people and we should all be very proud that we have such a fantastic place for “our youth of today, as they are the future of tomorrow.”

LUCY BARTZ is involved with public relations for the Cuyuna Range Youth Center.