LIFT Youth Center Inc. will hold a grand opening for Claudia Nance Rollins Youth Center at 7197 Nashville St. in Ringgold on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 4-8 p.m.

“The evening will be an event open to the whole community to get a first-hand look at LIFT and learn more about our plans for the youth center’s start-up semester,” said Chrissie Brown, marketing and development director for LIFT Youth Center Inc.

“The summer has been a window into what the fall will look like,” Brown said. “It has been incredibly heartwarming to see students who have attended summer events become invested in LIFT, even before we officially open our doors.”

Attendees to the grand openning can enjoy live music from Ringgold and Heritage high schools’ bands, activities, and games, make LIFT art at its craft station, get information on the youth center, and support LIFT financially in numerous ways.

LIFT staff, students, and volunteers will be available to meet, discuss LIFT’s programming, and give tours of the center. Staff will offer help with LIFT’s enrollment process so students can be all set to join LIFT after the first day of school.

Fund-raising campaign

August also kicks off a month-long annual giving campaign for LIFT Youth Center Inc. “Donors can help the ‘LIFT OFF’ as we open the doors of the Claudia Nance Rollins Youth Center,” LIFT said in a news release. “The evening of the grand opening we will have several ways that you can support LIFT and help us get a jump start towards reaching our goal of $100,000. All food items purchased at the event will donate a percentage back and LIFT will have merchandise for purchase that directly supports LIFT. Finally, you can sign up to become a monthly donor or donate that evening.

“We are asking individuals, families, and businesses to become invested in the work of the center and the lives of the students we’ll support. There are many levels at which to engage, and the donations can come in a single gift or a monthly commitment. You could sponsor one student for one week of programming for a gift of just $25. Have $50 to give, $75 … increase your impact. If we are able to serve 250 students a year, which is our goal for 2021-22, then your gift of $100 would sponsor a student’s involvement for a whole month. A donation of $500 could help provide additional STEAM resources. A donation of $1,000 supports half a year of sewing/craft classes. $2,500 could sponsor a year of healthy cooking classes. $5,000 could cover the cost of a summer reading program. The operational cost for our youth center is approximately $5,900 a week. Could your business become a sponsor at that level? We have several big projects/areas that still need major sponsors as well if you could give a substantial donation.”

All donations are tax-deductible. “It is because of donations from our community that we can provide a free youth center for students in Catoosa County, and we thank you in advance for helping us LIFT OFF into 2021 with huge success.” LIFT said in the news release.

Tina Pinkston, LIFT’s executive director, said, “It means so much to our students to see their community step up in financial support of something designed to benefit them directly. Quite often they feel only negative responses to their generation, but when we get behind an idea like this, it brings them hope and pride; it inspires them to live into their potential. They hear, ‘You are important, worthy, and a valuable part of our society.’”

After-school program

The grand opening comes just before the start of the upcoming school year. LIFT will launch its after-school program beginning Monday, Aug. 9.

LIFT’s HOURS of operation for the start-up semester: After-school drop-in hours for Catoosa County 6th-through 12th-graders — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 3-6 p.m., and Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Specialized program times for fifth-graders will be offered beginning in the spring semester.

LIFT Youth Center Inc. will follow the Catoosa County Schools’ calendar and emergency closings.

Programming offered during these hours is free to all enrolled students and will fall into LIFTS’s areas of REACH — recreation, education, art, community, and health.

About LIFT

LIFT Youth Center Inc. was founded as a nonprofit in 2018. The past few years LIFT staff, board of directors, advisory board, and volunteers spent countless hours working diligently to create a firm foundation for the center to become a fixture in the community. In the spring of 2020, LIFT held the ribbon-cutting for the Claudia Nance Rollins Youth Center. The facility has been named in honor of LIFT’s primary funding family. Over the course of this summer, LIFT held three events a week, enrolled more than 125 students for the 2021-22 school year, worked on leadership skills and team-building with LIFT Student Leadership, and trained and screened more than 35 adult volunteers.

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