The end of government funding does not mean death to a worthy organization. At least not to supporters of The HUB in Langley, which for more than 20 years has been a popular youth hangout in space donated by the United Methodist Church.
The HUB temporarily closed in 2011 when government funding was withdrawn and salaried leaders had to look for work elsewhere. But it wasn’t down for long. A group of adults, among them Frankie Petitclerc, Erick Westphal, Langley Councilman Bruce Allen and Police Chief Randy Heston, expressed their determination that The HUB would reopen, government funding or not.
What followed was a fundraising frenzy with raffles, dinners and dollars donated by individuals, businesses and other community organizations. By April 2012 the kids’ club was ready to open two days a week after school, and it re-opened after summer break.
The next goal was to be open more days, with the target of four days per week set for February 2013. A successful salmon dinner cooked up last Saturday by Hank Hall, HUB executive director, drew a crowd of 150 and netted $2,000 thanks to a host of volunteer workers, including kids who frequent The HUB. Now they’re right on track to be open four days a week as scheduled.
The ultimate goal is to be open every day after school beginning next school year. The continuing fundraising that will be required is daunting, an estimated $36,000 annually. But HUB organizers have already shown that they’re not deterred by a little thing like lack of funds.
The HUB will have a continuing need for community support, but everyone agrees that there should be a place for adolescents to gather after school rather than going home to an empty house or a chair in front of the TV set. At The HUB, the teens can socialize, play a variety of games from electronic to ping pong, air hockey and pool, grab some good grub, catch up on homework and avail themselves of other youth services promoted at the HUB.
The HUB was always a great South Whidbey success story, but it’s been even more impressive in the way it rose from the dead after federal and state dollars dried up.