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The Parkesburg Point Youth Center

Meeting the needs of over 400 at-risk youth

The Parkesburg POINT (The POINT) holistically meets the physical, emotional, academic and spiritual needs of over 400 at-risk youth, ages 8 to 18, annually through a variety of programs ranging from after-school homework assistance and career exploration to performing arts and fitness programs.

The students come from predominantly single-parent households, 90% of which fall below the poverty level. Many of the youth have experienced homelessness, transient housing conditions, mental or physical abuse, academic hardship, or have parents struggling with addiction or mental health challenges. The POINT has become a second home for these students, and it is crucial that the youth center be able to provide them with a nutritious dinner and other emergency supports, while their families continue to build momentum towards a brighter tomorrow.

The Trust has supported The POINT with this mission since 2013 — starting with commercial kitchen equipment and food purchases needed for a robust, restaurant-style, after-school nutritious meal program. With the participation of 20 churches from communities near the youth center, The POINT provides after school snacks and dinner at least four nights a week for a daily average of 60-80 food insecure students each night. Providing these meals not only addresses students’ immediate hunger, but it also increases their capacity to focus and thrive academically, socially and emotionally.

A mother recently came to us in a critical time of need. She had been serving tables at a local restaurant and an opportunity for a management position became available. Her employer sent her to Management Training but when she returned, she learned the position was no longer available, and the schedule for servers had been filled for the next 4-6 weeks. Thanks to help from the W. W. Smith grant we were able to help keep this family’s lights and heat on until she could get back on the schedule at work. We also provided gift cards to help keep the family fed. The mother shared, “When I brought all the groceries home and put them in the cupboards the kids said, oh my gosh, the cupboards aren’t bare!

- Nancy Sykes, Program Director, The Parkesburg POINT

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