Non-profit center in Cadiz, Kentucky, serves middle and high-school students
A unique ministry in a nearly 12,000-square-foot youth center in Cadiz serves approximately 400 different students during the school year, and averages 100 each day and 150 on Friday nights.
The Way Christian Youth Center is open to all Trigg middle and high-school students, including home schooled.
Board member, Carl Heckmann, says, “The Way is all volunteer, non-profit and multi-denominational center supported by approximately 30 churches in the community.”
What makes it unique, he says, is that “no one serving in the ministry receives any money for their contributions. Everything at The Way is free to students from refreshments and meals to activities and lessons.”
Margaret Moody, who directs activities on Tuesdays and manages the meal and snack program, says, “My volunteering at The Way has been a great experience. To me, doing God’s work is stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s easy to do great things in your own church among your friends, but you can never imagine the love and joy you will reap stepping outside your comfort zone.”
Heckmann says The Way’s existence and success is a testimony to what God will do when Christians work together towards a common goal of serving others
“In a smaller county like Trigg, no church or even denomination could provide sufficient financial and human resources to build and operate such an endeavor. Almost every facet of Trigg County has partnered and sacrificed to provide a safe and productive place for its students to attend and be ministered to spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally,” he says.
What The Way provides
Dr. Martha Davis, who serves on the board and is co-chair of the Fundraising Committee also directs the activities at The Way on Monday.
She says, “The Way is a place where young people gather after school have food, fun, and have an opportunity to learn how to interact in a Christian manner with other teens and adults.”
The center holds seminars one Friday night each month on topics of critical importance to students, such as suicide awareness/prevention, dangers of opiates, and sanctity of life, and offer over 25 different activities for students during the school year.
The Way’s gym has basketball, skateboarding, and dodge ball. Taekwondo lessons are provided once per week, an archery class scheduled in early 2018 and basketball leagues and an indoor floor hockey league are planned during winter months. The activities building has numerous table and board games, fellowship area, arts and crafts, movies, and guitar, keyboard (piano), cooking, sewing, chess, etc. lessons. Plans are being made to implement tutoring. Daily refreshments and meals are provided by local churches, organizations and individuals.
Moody says, “Come volunteer at The Way. I have received so much more love than I could possibly give. You have to give in order to receive, and my love for these kids comes from the bottom of my heart.”
Building The Way
The Way opened in May 2011 in a vacant storefront rental on Highway 68/80. When Dollar General Store purchased the property in August 2013, Cadiz Baptist Church generously allowed The Way to use their annex rent free until the new building was completed in March 2017 at 197 Lafayette Street, Cadiz.
Marcus Frye, the chairperson of The Way’s Building Committee, along with Jerry Schissler, project manager, were “the driving force behind its completion,” says Heckmann. Frye now serves as the facilities manager.”
“Being involved in God’s ministry for The Way has been a magnificent blessing,” says Frye. “Working beside all the others over the past several years, mostly behind the scenes, has been inspiring to see God’s handiwork through the hands of His people. Once the building started it became evident that He intended this to be a permanent part of Trigg County. I am humbled to have been a part of the process and to be a part of what God is continuing to do.”
Heckmann says, “For various reasons, there were many naysayers concerning the ministry’s future, but we were faithful and students continued to come despite previously having to walk up to 7/10ths of a mile from school including during inclement weather. We are now directly behind the Trigg County Middle School.”
Ways to support The Way
A quick and easy way to support the ministry is by choosing The Way as your charity of choice through Amazon Prime and Kroger. For Amazon Prime, go to smile.amazon.com, and choose “The Way Christian Youth Ministries of Trigg County KY, Inc.” and the center will receive 1/2 percent of total purchases. Or, use your Kroger community rewards program, select The Way, and for every dollar purchased using your Plus Card, The Way receives 3-5 percent. These programs are of no cost to you as an individual.
Heckmann humbly shares, “We are trying to get as much of our construction loan paid off before it converts to a traditional mortgage on December 29, 2017. We want to be good stewards of God’s money by minimizing interest paid, but also desperately want to pay off debt so we can start giving our total attention to students and expanding and improving services to them including teaching interview and life skills. We have worked hard for over three years to raise money to build and to pay off our debt.”
Donations and volunteers are welcomed for the 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. The Way’s ongoing fundraising will help pay off the remaining $250,000 construction loan for the $1.2 million building, which is insured for $1.7 million. Donations can be made to The Way, PO Box 572, Cadiz Ky 42211, or on The Way’s website. You can also learn more about the group on Facebook.
“The Way would also be honored to give VIP tours to organizations, businesses and individuals to better show, explain, and experience the ministry,” he adds. Tours can be scheduled by calling (270) 498-1933.
“My dream is that every small and large community will emulate this,” says Heckmann.