Fundraising efforts for The Den youth center in Monett are moving forward, and volunteer organizers are hoping to increase giving during the month of July to take advantage of a generous pledge offered by an anonymous donor.
Through July 31, this donor has pledged to match any funds raised for The Den up to $10,000. According to Kelley Cloud, a member of The Den board of directors, the organization has collected approximately $5,000 toward the match.
"There is still $5,000 available for matching," Cloud said.
The Den will be located above the new Mocha Jo's Coffee Cafe at 404 Broadway. Renovations are moving along quickly, and plans are to open the youth center soon. The Den's stated mission as a Christian-based organization is "to provide the youth of the community a safe, positive and fun environment."
A fundraising campaign, called Mission 180, has been launched with the goal of raising $32,400 to operate the center. This goal involves getting 180 individuals, groups or organizations to donate $180 toward the targeted goal.
In addition to monetary donations, The Den is in need of furniture, a sound system and other items such as board games, Wii games or books.
Area residents are also invited to volunteer their time to help provide staffing for the youth center.
"We have one paid staff member, but we need a host of volunteers to make this a safe, enjoyable place for our youth," said Kelley.
"Our hope is that The Den will be a place for youth of many generations to come," added Kelley. "We hope we are building a program that will withstand time and be there for the toddlers of today."
The Den will be hosting a "Cool the Coach, Punish the Principal" booth at Monett's Fourth of July Celebration this Saturday. For a $1 donation, individuals will have the chance to aim a squirt gun full of water at one of Monett High School's coaches or principal. Information about donating or volunteering at The Den will also be available at the booth.
Members of The Den board include: Cloud, Mark and Lauren Holland, Ryan and Katie Mayhue, Neal and Betty Messer, Gordon Brown, Spencer and Ann Ellis, Amy Sampson, Gerry Bounds, Debbie Berger and Titus Fox.
For more information on The Den, call 417-236-3640 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.