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HUB prepares to reopen for South End youths
The HUB will soon open its doors again to South Whidbey kids.
After the gathering place for young people closed in August, a group of South End community members met to brainstorm ways to bring back the after-school hangout spot in Langley. As many as 20 people gathered to share their ideas and concerns about reviving the program, and eight took central roles with the South Whidbey Youth Coalition in reopening the HUB on Wednesdays, starting Jan. 11.
“This small handful of people said, ‘Well, let’s get it going now,’” said organizer Larry Fox. “That’s all we can afford to do right now — is to get it open temporarily one day a week.”
With about $1,200 in an account for the HUB, Fox (who has handled accounting duties) estimated the youth center can stay open for about eight weeks.
The HUB will be open from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
Most of the money goes toward the two staff members, former HUB employees Frankie Petitclerc and Erick Westphal.
“Ninety percent of the costs are for staff,” Fox said. “There will be two adults present for the entire three-hour span.”
“I think we’re really fortunate that we have those two people, who already have experience supervising the program and who are known to the kids already,” he added.
The program was run by South Whidbey Youth Connection for 22 years. Federal funding cuts forced the nonprofit to end one program after another, until the HUB was all that remained, and then the HUB had to be closed, too. In the six months prior to the HUB’s ending, South Whidbey Youth Connection had lost $160,000 in funding from federal, state and private sources.
Fundraising is still a priority to the coalition, said member Terri Arnold, who is also director of the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District.
“We don’t have a reliable source of funding,” she said.
Located in the basement of Langley United Methodist Church, the church kept the HUB’s equipment. Pool tables, table tennis tables, a Nintendo Wii, a large TV, guitars, dishes, silverware, pots and pans are all there for the HUB’s use. The Langley church is also the financial holder, until the HUB’s organizers can raise enough capital to recreate the nonprofit South Whidbey Youth Connection, or something in its place to run the HUB.
After that, organizers said ideally they would open the HUB five days per week. Similar to its previous operations, the youth center will rely on volunteers and donations for food, time and support.
“What’s happening now is a temporary effort,” Fox said.
Leaders from the youth coalition said parents, grandparents and guardians are invited to meet the staff and see the reopened HUB during its operating hours Wednesday, Jan. 11. An open house is also being planned.
Those interested in supporting the HUB or the South Whidbey Youth Coalition can email Petitclerc at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Arnold at 221-6488.
Contributions to the HUB are tax-deductible, and should be made out to the HUB at LUMC and mailed to PO Box 374, Langley, WA 98260.