DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – For nearly 20 years, Adventure Central at Weslyan Park has served as a free, safe space for kids on the west side of Dayton to spend some time at after school or during the summer months.
After two decades, some of its most crucial facilities are starting to age. Director of Adventure Central, Nate Arnett, said the appliances in the kitchen are reaching their expiration date.
He said the kitchen is one of the most popular spaces for kids who come here after school.
He says staff hears stories from parents about how much their kids enjoy spending time helping in the kitchen.
“They’re like, ‘My kids say they helped helped out washing dishes here at Adventure Central today. I can’t get them to pick up a dishrag at home’,” Arnett said.
The center serves 600 meals every week for the 100 kids that walk through these doors every day.
The kitchen not only serves as a place to feed but also a space to teach.
“It’s almost like a second curriculum that we’re able to work with young people. So, they’re able to try some different things, eat healthy and really get that energy they need,” Arnett said.
After two decades in operation there are some needed upgrades.
That’s why the Five Rivers Metroparks Foundation is now undergoing a fundraising campaign.
“It was a $495,000 project and we raised over 71%,” said Leslie King, Five Rivers Metroparks Foundation president.
To get to their goal by next year they’re now asking the public to donate.
“It’s a community organization and it’s for the community so we just want the community involved,” King said.
The money would go towards expanding the kitchen, increasing storage and serving space, creating more learning and prep space as well as installing a dishwasher.
“Right now, it’s either done by hand or toss so we’re really going to develop a sustainable operations as well,” King said.
All this to ensure kids continue to have a safe learning space far into the future.
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