I don’t think I will ever forget the morning we sat across from John Essen, President of Community Savings Bank. To be honest, I thought he was going to be telling us about a great new bank product for non-profits. He talked about a piece of property and asked if we were interested in it. Scott and I “played” along listening to the details but the whole time I was thinking in my mind, there is no way we could ever purchase a property like this: 15 acres, a house, a 20+ stall horse barn, a building great for training seminars and group events, and a building that could be easily modified into a packing facility. It all sounded enticing but still we knew this was a longshot for our budget.
And then… he said… I wanted to see if you are interested because I’d like for Community Savings Bank to gift it to Empower Youth.
Drop the mic. Boom.
I still feel the catch in my throat and that pit in my stomach that went from butterflies to flying dragons… even now I feel a bit light headed. Fighting back tears we said yes we are interested.
After a meeting with the bank board and their follow up meeting, we received a call Thursday evening from John saying the board approved. The property would belong to Empower Youth.
I’m still in shock. How do you say thank you for something like this? A box of chocolates is a bit weak. We are still trying to figure it all out.
I do think the best thanks we can give Community Savings Bank is to use the property in such a powerful way that it brings honor to those who had the vision for it. We want to use the property in a capacity that makes its impact the same way that led CSB to pay attention to us in the first place—we’ll just start with using it as a resource to change one life, and then add another, and another, and another. Remembering that each number has a face. Each face has dreams and if we mentor these dreamers they will do amazing things for themselves.
Empower Youth has never wanted to be the only “game” in town in the fight against poverty. We don’t want to be the only resource for students. We want to be a “game-changer” by not making our work all about the resources we provide students but by the training and encouragement we instill in students to create their own resource base. When students have created their own resource base only then can they truly step out of circumstance and do big things.
Last month, Empower Youth taught a leadership class for Amelia Schools. The main point was “Begin with the end in mind.” The end for this facility is to be a fully functioning ranch that provides the resources to educate groups from all over Appalachia Ohio on how to help folks in poverty create their own resources. The end for this facility is to be a fully functioning farm with gardens worked by students and animals tended by Grant Career Center students, 4-H clubs, church groups, and scouts. The end for this facility is to have a packing facility to pack one thousand packs a week and the capacity to train groups to start their own EY branch in communities that are too far for us to deliver to. The end for this facility is to teach students the value of hard work and show them how to start bank accounts and maintain balances that allow them to buy their first car that drives them to their first job that helps pay for their books for college!
So with the end in mind and clearly set before us… let me walk you through the beginning step. The beginning step is to clean up the property. The bank has ordered a 30-yard dumpster to be delivered on Tuesday (March 28).
Priority 1: Clean the property
There is a lot of debris at the property due to years of use. We need large groups, small groups, individuals, families, and teams to come to the property and help us get this in shape as soon as possible. We need to sort through the leftovers all over the property. Trash must be packed tight in the dumpster. We also will be separating out wood, metal, copper, and aluminum. Some items will go in a yard sale to help offset the cost of the property and send kids to camp this Summer while other items are in good enough shape that we will try to sell them on auction sites.
Priority 2: Food Depot
Clean out the building that will be used for our food depot. Make repairs to the building. Dry wall and redo all fixtures and doors. Pour cement floor if needed. Make the building completely solid for food storage. Fix the drainage around the building. We need doors and windows for the building donated and installed. We need insulation donated for the packing building.
Priority 3: Excavation
In order to keep water out of some of the buildings, we need to move dirt to around the buildings as well as raise the floor of the main barn a few inches to keep water from settling in.
List of items needed for donation:
Tractor with front loader and PTO
Paint for the barns (interior and exterior)
Windows and doors
4-foot-wide door for packing barn
Cement cap for floor
Wood for packing tables (or restaurant grade packing tables)
List of items need to borrow:
Bobcats, tractors, mowers
List of skills needed:
Trash pickers, sorters… painters, dry-wallers, cement finishers, electricians, heating and air pros…
Dirt movers… mowers… cleaners for the house… stall muckers… wood choppers… pond fixers… bobcat drivers…
Want to help? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is plenty of work to do but together this property can be a great tool in the fight to empower youth to break through barriers to reach their full potential. #GoLocal.