Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin A divider from the chapel of the Fr. Bernard Youth Center.
MOUNT ANGEL — The Father Bernard Youth Center in Mount Angel, now in its seventh year, has been awarded $5,000 for its youth service program, which recently was given several awards.
The center specializes in prayer and service, scheduling more than 3,500 volunteer hours each year for its guests, mostly middle school and high school students.The service hours are performed at a nearby St. Joseph Shelter, at nearby Providence Nursing Center, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Mount Angel Developmental Programs, Mount Angel Senior Center and Mount Angel Towers. One group spent a week in the Summer helping Silver Falls State Park Rangers clear an acre of invasive scotch broom.
The grant from the Juan Young Trust will help the center continue the project, saving more than $100,000 in labor for area programs.
"The real value is in knowing that it is very often the youth themselves who feel they have been served," says Don Robison, the center’s executive director. "They get so much out of the experiences and gain confidence so they are better prepared to meet certain situations in their own lives."
Youths have called their experiences "life-changing" and explain that they see people on the margins of society in a better light. The volunteers are encouraged to seek out opportunities in their own communities using the experience gained at the center.