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Lincoln County Youth Center puts on open house for residents

Posted at 9:50 PM, Oct 06, 2020

RICHFIELD, Idaho — Lincoln County Commissioners held an open house at the proposed youth center to give information and gain feedback from the community about the space.

Those working to build the Lincoln County Youth Center are looking to provide a whole new after school option for kids ages 5-18 in the area with educational programs and activities, such as cooking, music, art, gardening, and more.

"We're going to have a computer room with access to computers and printers and free WIFI in the building," said Lincoln County Commissioner Rebecca Wood. "We have a large gym, multi-purpose area that we'll be able to do dance, gymnastics, sports."

Providing new opportunities is the vision for this center. The hope is to have enough activities and fields of education that can help pique a student's interest in what they want to do once they get older.

Planners of the site are currently on speaking terms with the College of Southern Idaho to implement job fairs, assist with FAFSA, and discuss scholarship opportunities. Life lessons and skills are also a big part of the youth center's visions, such as changing a tire or balancing a checkbook.

Many of the residents were thrilled about the opportunities that could come of this center, including some local area high school students who never had access to something like this before.

"They're going to get to experience so many more things and that they're going to have the opportunity to grow themselves," said Lexi Fuchs of Richfield High School.

"This will be a great thing for all the kids in Richfield and Shoshone and places near that the kids can go and their parents can be here to watch them, and they can learn new things," said Jaden Hamilton, a student at Cassia Alternative.

Due to the lack of resources outside of school, Lincoln County has had an issue of drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers in the past. Residents highlighted that this youth center could profoundly impact students getting involved in mischievous behavior after school.

"I see a bunch of kids that get into drug abuse and kind of throw their lives away," said Katie Perry, student body president and senior at Shoshone High School. "I think this would help them get back on track to help them stay in school and help them with scholarships and FAFSA because they mentioned that on the tour. That they'll be able to help you with that and help them get into college."

"Especially around here, there is not a lot for them to do so a lot of kids were probably doing things they shouldn't be after school," said Kristan Race, a local parent. "It's a great opportunity for them to have something educational and fun."

While the centers showcasing went smoothly and received a world of positive feedback, there is still more work to be done. This includes hiring more teachers and chaperones to help educate and monitor the kids as well as applying for grants for remodeling, equipment and after-school program purposes.

"Our ultimate goal is $500,000. We're looking at grants for purchasing the property that is $225,000 and also grants for after school programs and budgeting that will actually cover the first couple of years of those kinds of programs," said Wood.