Community worries center will close

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Money...or lack there of's the reason a local community center is in danger of closing.

The Cape Area Family Resource Center in Cape Girardeau says it will have to close it's doors by the end of the summer if it can't come up with a continuous source of funding.

"The big concern is, what are the children going to do after it closes," said Board of Directors member Betty Mosley.

"It's kind of like, what do we do, we don't know," said parent Lynn Beckett.

Parents like Beckett, and Dana Rasperry keep asking themselves that question.

"If this closes, would be hard to find someplace to take the place of it," said Rasperry.

"There's nothing for our kids to do in this community. And idle hands and minds are the devils workshop," said Center Director Pat King.

"If kids are getting in trouble part of the reason is because they don't have activities close by that can keep them engaged," said Board of Directors Member Kevin Sexton.

So parents say the center does provide activities, like Thursday's water balloon fight.

"A simple water balloon can be so much fun," said King. "you know it's not what you have, it's how you use what you've got."

But it's not all fun and games.

"Before they can do any activities, they have to do homework first," said Mosley.

"The mission here, our focus here is that everything we do is geared toward education, making kids wanting to stay, wanting to learn, wanting to graduate," said King.

"I know that they can come here, they'll learn, they're getting a good education, the people here are positive influence on them," said Rasperry.

A positive influence. that many say lasts a lifetime.

"There's a lot of these kids that have been here since kindergarten and have come back," said parent Lynn Beckett.

Kids like Eddie Calvin, who isn't from the area, but grew up with the same positive influence. This is his 4th year in a row volunteering at the summer camp.

"I went to summer camp when I was younger growing up and I remember it like it was yesterday, so I just got into it and had fun the first summer and just kept coming back," said Calvin.

He too worries where kids will go if the center closes.

"I don't want to think about what might happen to them, it scares me, but it like keeps a lot of the children out of trouble, cause during the summertime you have nothing to do, and you find something to do and its usually bad," said Calvin.

Now, the center has until July 7th, the last day of summer camp, to come up with a way to stay open, or it will close for good.

Something Rasperry says will be hard for her, but devastating for her girls.

"They really love it here," said Rasperry.

Sexton says one of the funding problems is the agency's name....a family resource center. He says if the center was only for kids, or only the elderly, it might be easier to find funding. He says they need money for utilities and building upkeep. But, he says the solution isn't as simple as a fundraiser.

"The funding would have to be significant enough to last beyond this fiscal year," said Sexton. "Because if we get somebody that comes in to provide funding for 6 months...6months from now, 8 months from now, we're still in the same boat."