CLINTON — “The worse thing we can do is not take the risk (on our children),” said Michelle Witzke, founder of The Vault, a teen center on Mr. Lincoln’s Square in Clinton that may open as early as this June.
Witzke spoke to Clinton Rotary members on Tuesday, telling them the community needs to be proactive “so we don’t have kids falling through the cracks. They need to know there is a place they can gather to feel loved and encouraged and know what their potential is.”
“It felt like a cloud of apathy over the community,” Witzke said, “but we’ve noticed as we’ve been fundraising that it has kind of changed the culture of the community. People want to make our community better instead of just survive.”
Witzke said the remodeling of the center has provided opportunities of teens to gain real world learning experiences including website design, marketing, public speaking, advertising, media production, construction and trade skills, and many leadership experiences.
Last year, the Vault had more than 8,000 volunteer hours from more than 240 community volunteers, Witzke said. Donations to date total more than $290,000 with more than $60,000 from private donations.
The Vault will hold several fundraising activities this spring, Witzke said, with a goal to raise another $100,000 to allow a grand opening in June.
For more information about the Vault, call (309) 212-7332.