Special to The Hays Daily News

STOCKTON -- This fall, God has blessed Fusion Christian Youth Center, and through these blessings the organization has moved toward the goal of creating a youth center in Stockton.

Fusion was created to establish and operate a Christian youth center to provide a fun, safe Christian environment for the junior high and senior high youth of the Rooks County area, allowing them to build character and leadership skills based on Christian values.

Throughout the summer, board members visited local churches and spoke with groups about their ideas and received seed money from many local individuals, giving them the ability to put ideas into action. With this initial seed money, the group was able to lay the foundation for all their plans.

The first significant step came late in September when the board of directors received notice they had received their status as a nonprofit entity from the federal government. This status will allow the organization to receive charitable contributions from individuals and businesses.

Next, Fusion directors organized two local events. The first was for high school students and was at the Parish Center. The students came for a meal and then heard the plans being laid by Fusion board members. Chance McKinney spoke to the group about his relationship with Christ and encouraging them in their future.

The junior high students were next as they met for ice cream at Stockton United Methodist Church. They heard encouragement from high school seniors Haley Strutt and Jordan Wiltfong as they told them about the importance of being involved, being a good student and having a strong faith. They also had fun viewing some video clips and games.

With enthusiasm mounting, the board then received a tremendous gift as the employees and directors of the Stockton National Bank donated a building for Fusion, giving the organization its home. Located at 201 S. Cedar, the building and lots will provide a space for immediate use and room for dreams.

Now the Fusion board will begin the process of remodeling the building and equipping it. Included in these plans are remodeling the interior, exterior concrete work, updating bathrooms and adding a kitchen area as well as making the basement into useable space. Plans might include an addition or perhaps an additional building on the south side of the property.

The Fusion board of directors would like to continue to request assistance from community members. Specifically they are looking for contributions of time, talents or treasures. Anyone who would like to get involved can contact any of the Fusion board members, Mark Lowry, Sally Lowry, Kirk Green, Stacey Green, Peter Bellerive and Joan Bellerive.

The next activity is a community-wide soup supper at the Parish Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 6.