Man gets teen center for his town |

Man gets teen center for his town

Sarah Gonser

James Finck is a resourceful man with a mission – a $2.2 million mission.

When he realized that the city of Redding, Calif., much like the city of South Lake Tahoe, did not have the resources or the interest to fund his project for a youth and community center, he rolled up his sleeves and went to work.

Not easily intimidated by daunting dollar figures, Finck, the executive director of Redding’s YMCA, did his homework and found a special youth grant set aside by the state of California for just this type of project.

“It seems there’s a high government priority for youth facilities right now,” he said. “This is a grant available through the California Youth Authority and specifically designated for the construction of youth centers.”

If Finck does receive the funding, it will probably have something to do with the breadth and creativity of his plan. He envisions the center as a gathering place for nonprofit organizations, combining a broad spectrum of activities including high school and college tutoring, health classes, family planning, job training, recreational activities and more.

What sets this project apart from most teen centers, said Finck, is the fact that citizens of all ages will be attracted and challenged by the broad scope of classes, activities and opportunities. It will not solely be a teen center, although it will be built around that premise.

“I’ve seen it happen over and over again in towns all over the state,” he said. “Teen centers fail because you put all the resources into building it, and then don’t have the funding, or interest level to keep the activities going. If you can build something that involves the entire community, where whole families want to come, then you will very likely succeed.”

Finck said the California Youth Authority will very likely offer the same grant, which totals $3 million this year, in the years to come.

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