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Facility aims to be safe place for youth

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7:00 am

A $1,000 Operation Round Up grant was recently presented to Jordan’s Place, a youth center located in Warrenton. Pictured above is co-founder Kelli Clodfelter. Submitted photo.

Jordan’s Place co-founder Kelli Clodfelter can vividly recall when the vision for the youth center first came together.
“This started on a notebook in Denny’s three years ago,” Clodfelter quipped.
Six months later, those pages of scribbles became a reality. Jordan’s Place has been welcoming area teens since July 2015. The youth center is located at 202 E. Main St. in Warrenton.
Jordan’s Place aims to provide a positive gathering space to visit and to raise awareness about drug abuse, bullying, teen pregnancy and other challenges youth face.
The facility is geared toward teens and provides numerous activities, including video games, pool, pingpong, snack bar and lounge area. It is open from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 3-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, all ages and families are invited to visit from 1-5 p.m.
There is no admission free and all activities are free of charge. In 2016, over 5,000 teens visited the center.
The center is named after Clodfelter’s son, Jordan Lunsford, who died in November 2014 from a drug overdose. Jordan was 17.
“It is crazy that we are standing here and it has come this far,” Clodfelter said. “We have a lot of kids who come to us and say this is their safe place. This is where they can come and nobody is going to bully them. They can get away from that here.”
While the facility closes in on its third anniversary, many challenges still exist to keep the doors open, particularly with funding and the lack of volunteers. Earlier this year, the city of Warrenton agreed to help pay the organization’s rent and utilities through June 2018.
Jordan’s Place also was the recipient of a recent $1,000 Operation Round Up grant awarded by the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust board. The funds will be used to help purchase new games and activities to entertain teens. Many of the current games in the facility were donated at the time the facility opened 2 ½ years ago.
“Upgrading our equipment is a big deal,” Clodfelter said. “It is something we have to do if we’re going to keep the kids here. We have to have something that will entice them.”
Despite the many obstacles, the non-profit organization has survived thanks to the commitment from its volunteer board and donations. Teens can search through racks of used clothes every day the center is open, while a community dinner is served the third Sunday of the month. There is no cost for the clothes or dinner.
Recently, a partnership has been formed with SunRise United Methodist Church, which has campuses in Wright City and O’Fallon, to open a food pantry at Jordan’s Place. Around 12 families are served monthly.
In addition, Jordan’s Place hosts the S.A.V.E. (Substance Abuse Victims’ Experiences) program on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. The victim impact panel features presenters who address how incidents involving drugs or alcohol affected their lives.
“When I look around, it is crazy at what we have done and accomplished,” Clodfelter said.
To learn more or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.jordansplace-mo.org.
The goal of Operation Round Up is to help address needs in the areas of health, education, home weatherization, youth, community and emergency services that cannot be met with other resources. More than $5 million have been awarded to applicants since the Operation Round Up program began in 1997. For more information or to download an application form, visit www.cuivre.com, call 800-392-3709, ext. 4837 or email tschmidt@cuivre.com.