About The Depot
The Vision. The Mission. The Purpose. They’re why we do what we do!
Teens will have a place to BE: safe, accepted, supported, entertained, fed, mentored, and loved.
Offer teens a path to BECOME: connected, confident, responsible, equipped, and an adult follower of Jesus.
To introduce teens to Jesus
In 2015 a group of pastors, youth workers, teachers and others shared a vision for providing a safe place for young people to spend time playing games, sports and visiting with friends. This group formed a board, created an non-profit, faith based corporation. The process continued when they received status as a 501(C)3 to allow individuals to contribute and receive a tax benefit for the donation. Bylaws and other required documents were created, and the last week of January 2017 we opened the doors.
The first week The Depot was open, over 150 young people, grades 6 through 12, came to check out the facility. From that point over 380 kids have come through the doors. Our average attendance in 2017 was 60, but in 2018 we are averaging over 70 kids per day. At this point we are only open 1 day per week, Fridays during the school year and Wednesdays in the summer. If you were to stop by and observe The Depot, you would see kids playing hard in the gym, sitting at tables playing board games like Monopoly and Risk, but more than that you would see kids hanging out with friends. We have a “Café” where we sell inexpensive foods and drinks. For example, a slice of pizza or pop is $1.00; with candy, soft pretzels, pop corn, ice cream and other items selling for between $.25 to $1.50. Almost every week we have some free items like milk and fruit.
Individuals, churches and businesses help fund The Depot with donations, including the City of East Jordan that gives us a great deal on the Community Center. We receive no government funding, and depend on the generosity of people who appreciate what we are doing. For more information on donating to The Depot click here
As a faith based organization, we carry a vision of helping the youth find purpose and meaning in life, and strive to be compassionate and loving in appropriate ways. All of our volunteers have gone through the process of providing references and consenting to a background check, which we perform at no cost to the volunteer. We believe part of the difference we are making in the community is simply being people who care and encourage right choices.
The youth register so we have emergency contact and release information, and so they know the expectations for their behavior while attending. The volunteers are, as it has been said, “the special sauce” of The Depot. They take time to teach the kids how to play pool, ping pong and various sports. The volunteers find areas where they feel they fit, maybe showing a youth how to play the piano or make applesauce. Some sit and color complicated pictures with the youth, while others run 3 v. 3 basketball tournaments in the gym. In all they do, they always show interest in the individual kids and help them feel they belong.
We are always in need of more volunteers to join the team. The typical Friday is made up of two shifts with about 8 volunteers on each shift. If you enjoy kids and want to join in making a difference for them, download an application and send it to us, or drop by for a visit and speak with us in person. To learn more about volunteering click here.