If all goes well, by this time next year youth and young adults at St. Helena Catholic Church will have a new safe place to “just hang out.”
“There will be a coffee bar, a game area with video games and table games, a place for students to do homework and a worship area,” Olivia Stuard, youth and young adult director at St. Helena told the News-Sun. “We’ll have staff to work with all those activities.
“We’re building a youth center between the school and the Bob Moran building, and it will be a place where young people can come to take part in a variety of activities.”
Pastor of the church, Fr. Joseph Pacquing, said families in the church have been asking for a specific place dedicated to youth activities for a long time, and now is the time church leadership has decided to honor those requests by providing a building that will contain more than 7,000 sq. feet.
Stuard said the church sponsors “lots of activities for youth and young adults, but there hasn’t been a space dedicated to those programs.”
“This new building will be the space they need,” he said.
Programs in the new building will be age appropriate for youth and young adults as young as 8th grade and as old as early 30’s, Stuard said.
Pacquing said the center will open with one full time staff member and add others as the need arises. The church and center will also rely on volunteer help from the membership of the church.
Neither Stuard nor Pacquing could say with certainty how many youth and young adults will be involved in the church’s youth center, but both said the facility will be able to accommodate at least 100 youngsters at a time.
The building will cost more than $1.2 million and is already about 70 percent paid for Pacquing said. “For the rest, we’ll have to do some fund raising.”
At the present time, St. Helena offers seven masses each week as well as a variety of other activities. The church schedule is listed on the church website and social media pages.