MASONTOWN — The Preston County Youth Center will be opening its doors far ahead of schedule thanks to a donation to the project by the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust.
Glenn Larew, a director for the PCYC, said the $234,150 award from the trust came at a critical time and has allowed the center to open “months and months” early.
On Monday, the 12,000-square-foot gym was being covered in an all-purpose vinyl, which has the same bounce as a wood floor, Larew said. Next week, the Valley youth basketball team is set to start practicing in the gym.
The indoor sports arena has a full-size basketball court with six hoops, three volleyball courts, space for six wrestling mats and the ability to accommodate most other sports.
“We believe that communities need community-centered activities,” Trustee Stephen Farmer said. “We felt like it has the opportunity to change a lot of lives in Preston County. And we’re very enthusiastic about it.”
Larew said a youth center in Preston County has been a dream of his since 2007, when he started working with the Boys and Girls Club to try to get a center; however, not much traction was gained.
Then he got some help in the form of Mike Adams, Wendy Adams, Tim Blosser and Roxanne Blosser — the other directors of the PCYC — and in February 2020 construction at 87 VIP Drive in Masontown began.
“We have, by last count, 19,400 homeless kids in West Virginia. And Preston County has 220 many of whom are right in our backyard up here in Reedsville, Masontown. So I want to help all kids and bring them all together so that we can lift them up and give them some normality in their life and they’re beginning here and some representation that they really don’t have,” Larew said.
There will be sports, of course, but Larew said the kids will also learn life skills and the directors plan to bring people like bankers and cooks in to teach them. The building has internet, will have tutoring, mentorship and field trips to places, such as to a sheep farm that also does blacksmithing.
“There’s so much talent out there in the community that can help these kids,” Larew said. “So we want to try to orchestrate that and facilitate that too. So that these kids have a broader view of life skills and how to be successful in life. That is the bottom line. Everything we’re doing is to help these kids be successful in life. That’s what it is all about.”
Anyone who wants to volunteer with the center can reach out through Facebook, pcyouthcenter.com, or just stop by the center.