Oakland Church Works to Provide Youth Programming

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TOPEKA, Kan. - As the economy faces tough times, some communities have had to cut funding for local programs. Oakland is one of those communities, but some are working to prevent those programs from disappearing.

The Oakland Church of Nazarene is selling candles to raise money to rennovate part of the church building and raise money for the new Hope Center.

"I really think that that's a really big need right now in the Oakland community," Answer Fundraising Coordinator, Kyndra Riedmann, said. "Just to keep them busy, keep their minds off other stuff and get them involved with the other youth in the community. I think that will do wonders."

Oakland has seen budget cuts for after school programs.

"We want it to be a vibrant community, we don't want our kids to have to be scared walking down the street," Matthew Goodwin, Pastor at the Oakland Church of the Nazarene, said. "We want families to be able to be at the park, enjoy themselves without fear. That's really why we're investing in this, for the people here at this church, but also for the community and for the future."

The church was recently tagged with this graffiti. Members of the church are hoping that they can prevent this by creating programs that will keep kids off the streets.

"There's a skate park a lot of them hang out at, but a lot of times they're not always wholesome things going on down there," Goodwin said. "There are a number of kids just out on the street without a lot to do which can cause a problem. I thought it would be a great way to channel their time and energy, even teaching them a skill."

By selling candles and raising awareness, the church wants to recreate some of those lost programs within their own building.

"Church doesn't have to be boring and old and shabby," Goodwin said. "We want it to be nice, colorful, we're spurring on their creativity. And so we just want to approach the community and say 'Will you come alongside and partner with us?'"

Several young people have already been toughed by the program.

"I have had troubles with my life like everybody else has," Joe Bourne, 15, member of the Oakland Church of the Nazarene youth group said. "But coming here has shown me what changes I can make to make myself better."

If you want to purchase any candles or donate to the center, you can contact Kyndra Riedmann at kriedmann84@yahoo.com or call her at (785) 215-8708