Freedom for Youth Ministries (FFYM) has announced a provisional Oct. 7 opening for its after-school outreach program for elementary and middle school children in Perry.
The nondenominational charity, which also seeks a site coordinator for its Perry center, will operate out of the former Bridal Boutique at 1210 2nd St., where remodeling is in progress.
"We’ve set some dates and some goals" for the Perry site, said Jessica Nelson, statewide outreach coordinator for FFYM, which has centers in Mitchellville, Stuart, Osceola, Urbandale, Johnston and several in Des Moines. The volunteer-based group plans to offer young people recreational activities, tutoring, mentoring and a free meal on Mondays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m.
Although no students have yet enrolled and only a few adults have volunteered, Julie Tenold, a lead volunteer from Perry, said she is "very confident that volunteers will come through" for the Perry site. Students can simply attend without preregistering, she said, and volunteers will undergo a background check and receive training from the Des Moines office of FFYM.
"Whether 10 kids show up on the first night or 50, we’ll be happy to nurture every child that comes through the door," Tenold said.
After attending FFYM’s first Perry meeting in February and reviewing the charity’s website, Tenod said she was "very impressed with the program." The 10-year-old organization provides similar youth-outreach resources in Des Moines as well as offering transitional housing for homeless young adults.
The centers receive no public funding but are wholly supported by churches, grants and individual donations, according to Nelson.
"We’re completely volunteer driven and rely mainly on word of mouth and some small-scale advertising, such as posters and flyers, to make ourselves known" she said.
According to a recent letter signed by Tenold and her fellow Perry-area volunteers, Joyce Hegstrom, Jody Lutterman and Vivian D. de Gonzalez, "a few of us who call Perry home are working together to help our hurting youth discover something they so desperately need — the love of the community around them and, most importantly, the love of Jesus Christ."