An after school program in LaGrange, Mo. opened its doors to the public Sunday afternoon.
The annual open house serves as a fundraiser for the LaGrange Community Youth Center. The center, at 5th and Jefferson St., has been a staple in the LaGrange community for 23 years, operating solely on donations.
It costs about $12,000 a year to keep the facility open. All of its staff members are volunteers who may see anywhere from 27 to 40 kids a night.
Director Betty Bronstine says the center is a safe haven, keeping area youth from getting into drugs and alcohol.
"If the center would close today, I really have no idea what the kids would do.There's nothing for them. But here, it's a safe environment for them to go and there's people here that will sit and listen to them. Like we always say, it's a place for kids where people care," Bronstine said.
During Sunday's open house, a handful of the center's kids surprised Bronstine with a quilt they learned to make on their own during their time at the center. It was a way of saying thanks for her dedication to bettering their future.
The Lagrange Community Youth Center is also home to a 12-step program for adults three days a week as well as a meeting spot for other community organizations.