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A Safe Haven for Teens: John’s Place Receives Grant to Expand After-School Program

Thanks to a recent Community Foundation for Mason County grant provided by Healthy Youth/Healthy Seniors Fund and Mason County Funds for the Community, area teens have a new place to call their own. John’s Place, an after-school program run by St. John’s Lutheran Church, was awarded $2,400 to support its mission of providing a safe and engaging environment for middle and high school students.

John’s Place offers a variety of gym and table games, including pickleball, curling, basketball, carpetball, pool, and air hockey. The program also provides arts and crafts activities and opportunities to learn cooking, tea making, curling, and other creative skills from guest presenters. Regular Adult volunteers engage with the teens so that they can feel comfortable and receive support. John’s Place is designed to be a welcoming space for all students, regardless of their interests or backgrounds.

“John’s Place is built on helping the average teenager navigate life with support,” said David Goehmann, program director.

The grant will provide supplies for guest presenters leading hands-on projects as well as new furniture to create a more inviting space for students to gather and socialize.

John’s Place recently capped off a successful first school year with a memorable party. The free event featured a dunk tank with former OJ Middle School Principal Mike Hart. Students enjoyed pizza, an inflatable obstacle course, cornhole, trench bowling, giant chess, slammo, gym games, snacks, and other activities. 

This new program is filling a specific gap in after-school options for area middle and high school students. With the support of the Community Foundation and other donors, John’s Place is well on its way to becoming a hub for youth development, offering a safe space, social interaction, caring adults, and opportunities to explore new skills and interests.