Youth center responds to concerns raised

To the editor,

This will be the third time we have answered questions for and to the Concerned Citizens group. There still is a lot of false information out there. To help clarify this is in response to the article in the Pioneer dated Saturday, Oct. 27, found in the editorial section. This letter, “Community members raise concerns over millage proposal,” was presented by Katherine Small for the Concerned Citizens group.

Each numbered item is in response made to a bulleted point in the Concerned Citizen group article.

1.) The youth center has a Facebook page titled Mecosta County Youth and Family Center. (I welcome you to visit the page.) We do not have a web page due the cost to set up and keep active. We chose Facebook as a free alternative. We have used flyers, brochers, the Pioneer paper, 9&10 news, our Facebook page and many other outlets to provide information. We also have an information board down at the youth center with a lot of information. We welcome you to come check it out.

2.) Having students at the youth center involved in several positive, supervised activities keeps them off the streets and out of trouble.

3.) Not true. The center was open from 2 to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday following the school calendar. It also was open several other days for activities and special events. We are currently open from 1 to 6 p.m. Our main goal in the millage request is to have enough funding to be open seven days a week, several more hours a day to support youth and their families.

4.) Nothing in our bylaws or constitution states that we have to hire locally. The job was posted at Michigan Works and in our local paper. The job required specific education, experience and skills. The new director met all of these requirements and more. The director was born and raised in the area. The director is far from part-time, she is a full-time director. She comes to us with a great understanding of the needs of children and families in this area.

5.) Not true. There are program goals and lesson plans available at the youth center daily. There is no line item for educational materials because there are four former educators that bring an abundance of knowledge and materials to the center. (Free of charge.)

6.) The soccer field/all purpose field has already been funded. The money has been set aside and plans have been put in motion; taken care of by the last millage. This multi-purpose/soccer field will be used for several different activities not just soccer.

7.) Not true. There are not four board members who are related on our board. It stated in our bylaws that the director of the youth center can and will be a board member. If things need to be voted on that pertain to or involve her position the board goes into executive meeting. Jim Shaw is the president of the board and only has a vote to break a tie. Bonnie Shaw is a voting member. That is two voting members, not four.

If you have any further questions please feel free to come to youth center and or call. We are not trying to hide any information, only trying to help the kids in this community.

Stacey Knoertzer

Mecosta County Youth and Family Center

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