BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Since the 70’s, William Hosea Jr. has been helping young kids in Bloomington stay out of trouble, by introducing them to sports at the Western Avenue Community Center. But the center is much more than a playground, Hosea has also helped hundreds of kids stay on top of their academics.
“I used to go to their house and I would wake them up and get them school,” said Hosea. “Some of the kids couldn’t get on the bus so I made sure they got to school that day.”
Hosea says the community center gives kids a chance to stay off the street, which in turn has helped them succeed later on in life.
“I’ve been able to see them graduate,” he said. “Some of them went to college and have been doing well. It makes me feel good that I had a chance to help.
But the center is now in a bind, it needs $250,000 by the end of the year or some of the programs it offers could be cut.
“We’re seeking individual donors to donate, whether its five dollars a month, $10 a month or even if its $100 a month, every little bit helps,” said Interim Director Andrew Held.
If you can’t give financially, the center also needs volunteers. Held says, he’d hate to see a center that has changed so many lives, limit the amount of help it gives to people.
“There just seems to be a sense of home here for the people,” said Held. “A sense of just being welcomed, so we’d like to keep that alive, hopefully for up to 100 years and beyond.”
If you would like to help you can visit this website, or head to the center located at 600 N. Western Avenue, Bloomington, IL.