REFUGE for teens opens in Peculiar

The Ray-Pec Community Alliance held an open house at their new youth center called the REFUGE. Kids 7th-12th grade are welcome to hangout, play games, have snacks and drinks, and just chill with friends in a safe, positive environment. Many community leaders were on hand to tour the facility at 13201 E 216th Street in Peculiar, including Peculiar Mayor Holly Stark, Senator Ed Emery, Raymore City Councilwoman Sonja Abdelgawad, Superintendent Dr. Kari Monsees, as well as members of the Ray-Pec school board and Raymore police department.
The youth center started out as a vision of repeating what had worked in the past. Allison Scott, the main force behind this project, wanted to have somewhere for her kids to hangout with their friends like she had where she grew up.
“I started about two years ago sending out letters and knocking on church doors. Then I heard about the Alliance and joined forces with them.”
The REFUGE is staffed completely by volunteers. “We have applications on our website. It does require a background check just like any other organization that works with kids these days,” explained Scott.
The cost of running such a program is substantial and it relies mostly on donations.
“There is a small grant that we’re writing and hoping to get from the state from the Department of Behavioral Health. The Alliance has gotten the grant the last two years and used it for other projects. This year if we get it we are going to use it for this project,” said Scott excitedly.
The selection of the spot to house the REFUGE was no easy task.
Scott described the process of how the facility became the home of the REFUGE, “Gretchen (Roth, a co-founder of the REFUGE) attends church at Heart of Life and heard about this building not being used as much and approached them and asked the question. They said ‘Absolutely. That’s what we’d love to use the building for.’ They have been very accommodating and even foot the bill for the utilities. That is a huge component to being able to operate on a dime.”
When asked what the ultimate goal for the REFUGE is, Scott replied, “Gretchen and I would love to first and foremost to meet what the kids want it to look like. We would love to have it open possibly every day after school for tutoring or a place to do homework. In the summertime, we’d like to offer lots of different programming aside from just a safe place for them to hangout. We are going to respond to what the kids say they want and what community support we get also.”
The REFUGE will host two events in September. The first will be on the 19th from 7-10pm and the second will be the 26th after the football game. There will be music, games, and snacks (for purchase).
For more information about the Ray-Pec Community Alliance, The REFUGE, volunteer opportunities, upcoming events, or how to donate, go to Refuge 002 RPCA Refuge 004 RPCA Refuge 008 RPCA Refuge 012 RPCA Refuge 014 RPCA Refuge 019 RPCA Refuge 021


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