Several area businesses stepped up to provide recreational opportunities for youth who reside at the Geauga Youth Center. On October 12, volunteers helped to install a sand volleyball court, a corn hole court, a fire pit, and a raised vegetable garden.
The Center, which is a temporary home for 13 – 17 year olds who have been removed from their homes, helps children and families in crisis by providing a residence for youth facing problems such as depression and mood disorders, abuse history or trauma, substance abuse, eating disorders, unruliness or family breakdown. Once there, the youth have an individualized treatment plan, participating in family and individual therapy, independent living skills training and high school educational services, all in a home-like environment.
“Most of these kids have had very limited opportunity for participation in sports or recreation,” says Karen Lackey, a social worker at the Center who spearheaded the project. “For the community to step up like this and show that there are people who care about them is amazing.”
“Ullman Oil, whose donation of fuel, and $4,000 from BP Products of North America, really got the project rolling,” said Joann Randall of United Way Services of Geauga County who helped coordinate the project. “After the initial donation, other area businesses jumped on board. Ronyak Paving committed to the paving for a half-court basketball court. Fairmount Minerals donated sand for the volleyball court, Arms Trucking donated trucking for moving the sand, and the Children’s Alliance purchased the lumber. The Pattie Group not only donated professional landscape plans and use of a Pattie equipment truck , but the landscape architect and his wife actually volunteered all day to supervise and help complete the projects.”
Other volunteers came from Park Place Technologies, Ravenwood Mental Health Center, United Way, The Children’s Alliance, and John Carroll University. The young residents also worked hard to transform their backyard into a multi-use recreation area.
“The kids are already using all the facilities, with the volleyball court and fire pit as the favorites so far,” said Lackey.
The Center is looking for a donation of picnic tables to make the transformation complete. If interested, please contact Joann Randall, 216-436-2045.