Children will soon be filtering in and out of the new Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau offices and they’ll be welcomed with open arms.
“I would like to say that we have youth in the Youth Service Bureau and now we will,” said Karen Branch, who serves as the organization’s executive director. “That’s a great feeling for all of us.”
Branch and her staff are officially moved in at the newly renovated building at 808 W. Pike St. It’s an upgrade for the Youth Service Bureau after 48 years at their former location, a 2,500-square-foot old farm house on East Pike Street that they leased from St. John’s Episcopal Church for $1 a year. YSB’s new location at the former Caleb Mills School on West Pike Street is nearly 11,000-square-feet and allows everything the organization does to be centrally located.
“One of the primary things is all of our programs will be under one roof,” Branch said. “The kids can come in and it’s going to be their space, and they’ve never had an opportunity to have that so we’re very excited they’ll have that.”
Renovations, which began late last year, were paid for with more than $800,000 from North Central Health Services. The Montgomery County Community Foundation provided an additional $100,000 and YSB raised another $100,000 through local donations. YSB purchased the building in 2017 from the Crawfordsville Community School Corp. for $25,000, and now they own it debt-free.
“It was a bargain,” Branch said. “But they were more concerned about who occupied the building than making a ton of money on the building.
After years of holding programs at Franciscan Health Crawfordsville, the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County and churches, everything will move to the new location on West Pike Street.
“We now have everything under one roof, which is wonderful,” Branch said. “We also have space that is so much more usable for kids. We often didn’t have kids in the old Youth Service Bureau because there wasn’t any room that worked well for kids. So we would rent space at St. John’s or First United to do our mentoring meetings and those kinds of things where now we can do them here.”
YSB has programs for teenagers every Thursday and Branch said they hope to add additional programs now that they have the space. And the alternative school will begin there in August after previously being held at the Boys & Girls Club.
A community room, with a full kitchen and technology, along with a board room will be available to nonprofits in town to use at no cost. A supervised visitation room also will be available for the Indiana Department of Child Services and other local agencies to schedule visits.
“It’s the community’s building and it’s the kid’s building,” Branch said. “We were only able to do this because of the generosity of the community.”