Youth mentoring center ready to open doors

The REC Grange director Tim Davis as he officially cuts the opening ribbon for the mentoring center. 

Eight months after Tim Davis and his team had a vision of what the former Keizer Grange Hall could become, The Rec Grange is ready to open its doors later this month.

More than 150 people attended a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning, Feb. 13.

The Greeters event, sponsored by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, was an opportunity for Davis, CEO of Valor Mentoring and The Rec Lanes, to showcase how the youth mentoring and community center will have a positive effect on regional youth.

Valor Mentoring purchased the hall last year and began renovating the 85-year old building from top to bottom.

Utilizing financial donations and as well as donations of labor and supplies, Valor Mentoring has been able to transform the musty building into a show place with a coffee shop, cafe, performance and meeting spaces.

In remarks to the assembled crowd, Davis stated statistics that make mentoring a key part of success for young men. “Ninety percent of all homeless runaways are from fatherless homes. Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts, 63% of every youth suicide (are from fatherless homes).

43% of children in America are in a home without their dad. That’s not a recipe for success,” said Davis.

Citing the result of mentorship, Davis continued, “55% are more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer on a regular basis. 90% are interested in becoming a mentor. We’re trying to build up the future generation. We do that through one-on-one and group mentoring. That’s pretty easy to understand. And we do it through music, media and the arts.”

The Rec Grange will have video production and podcast studios. Other elements of the new mentoring center will be video game tournaments, hip-hop dances, photography, painting and graphic design, all of which will be available and free.

Davis emphasized that those are tools to reach a younger generation, much like coaches used on him when he was younger.

The center is located just several hundred yards from McNary High School, making it convenient for the target audience to visit when they want. 

Before the ribbon cutting, Davis acknowledged dozens of individuals and organizations that were instrumental in converting the building into the gleaming community center it is today. He also named the board directors and members of the advisory board.

When the project began Davis said it was important to tell the building’s story from its beginning on River Road before being moved to its current location at Chemawa Road North.

The renovation included displaying gold-tinged, Grange-themed china sets found in the building as well as photos of the Grange’s board of directors from the mid-20th century.

Once operational, Davis expects The Rec Grange to serve up to several hundred youths each week.

Keizer Chamber executive director Corri Falardeau presented Tim Davis of Valor Mentoring a donation of $800 gathered from a tip jar at last year’s KeizerFEST beer sales. 
Councilor Laura Reid and Mayor Cathy Clark at the ribbon-cutting
Councilors Soraida Cross and Dan Kohler posing with Keizer Police Chief Andrew Copeland as well as former Keizer mayor Lore Christopher

Contact Publisher Lyndon Zaitz:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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