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Visitors Tour New Key
Submitted by Jane B McWilliams on Wed, 02/09/2011 - 11:58am
Update - Photo Gallery posted!
Last Saturday morning, leaders at the Key invited a group of retired Northfield women to tour their new building and learn more about Key programs and needs. Two members of the Adult board, Zach Pruitt and Missy Donkers, and Dan Dobrow, Youth Board President, greeted visitors. For most of the guests, this was their first chance to see the transformation of the building, which had been in commercial use for decades, into a welcoming, bright, comfortable space. It was hard to believe the new owners, the Union of Youth, had only been in the building since September!
Established in 1993 by a small group of area youth, the Union of Youth raised funds to purchase a building on Water Street, which, along with space owned by the city, became The Key, a center for gathering and activities for the next 15 years. When it was obvious the space no longer was adequate to the evolving programs and growing participation, in spring 2010, NUY purchased the present 6th Street location. The new building has more than twice the space, and a floor plan uniquely accommodating to meetings, movies, concerts, and just sitting around. Key members’ artistic talents are in evidence everywhere, as murals and paintings lend color and energy to the rooms, which had once been offices and places of commerce.
Two boards govern the NUY: The Youth Board meets weekly to plan programs, events and general operation of the center. The Adult Board meets monthly to guide the youth when necessary. Amy Merritt serves as executive director, and other staff are listed on the NUY website: http://www.unionofyouth.org/. Contributions, grants, and program fees fund the budget of a little over $111,000.
In order to make this new space possible, the NUY is conducting a capital campaign in order to raise $120,000. With a lead gift from the Northfield Rotary, and contributions from around 100 organizations and individuals, they are over half way to the goal. Saturday’s guests were encouraged to help out, and received organizational information about not only the board members and finances, but also the wide array of activities and programs the old Key has housed over the years. The new Key is destined to unlock even more opportunities for Northfield youth as it works toward the mission “To give power and voice to area youth and create a caring community.”