Jackson County Church Opens Youth Center to Community

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX)- Nineteen year old Jason Burgan remembers slower times for the youth at Helena First Baptist Church.  Those times are no more, thanks to the new Youth Center.

"We'd just sit inside the fellowship hall or something like that and pretty much do nothing," he said. "Now that we have this, we are generally out here, and we are hardly ever inside anymore."

The eighty thousand dollar center was dedicated Saturday. It features air hockey, a pool table, televisions and even a nintendo wii.  Pastor Robbie Howard acknowledges that these are unusual things to find in a church.

"Some churches would frown upon pool tables and things like that," he said. "But we feel like it's an outreach of some fashion, to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ."

The center is not just for church members. It's for the entire community as well. 11-year-old Alexis Davidovich looks forward to meeting other community members at the center.

"It brings people together, and we can have fun and hang out. And now kids have more chances to get to church," Davidovich said.

The building took more than six months to construct. Church members and the community donated their money and manpower to the project. The building was financed completely through donations and gifts, which has left the church debt-free. Church members hope the center will give local children a safe place to go after school.

"There's always somebody that needs help with something," Burgan said. "Some of the kids need a place to be, so they'll be off the streets."

The center is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and church members hope it will eventually stay open all week.  They are actively seeking volunteers from the community to help manage the center.