Clinton Woman works to open "The Vault" Youth Center for Teens

Posted: Updated:
CLINTON -

A Clinton woman is doing her best to turn a closed business into a positive, safe haven for teens and pre-teens.

The plan is still in the primary stages, but Michelle Witzke hopes to ultimately provide hundreds of teens with a place where they can visit to escape life's challenges.

"I think it'll benefit everybody, not just the teenagers," explains Witzke.

Witzke, a mom of three and Clinton resident, is working to buy the former Indecent Exposure tanning salon located on the Mr. Lincoln's Square in Clinton and turn it into a place where kids can have fun, socialize, and get academic help.

"I've been talking to people for years," explains Witzke. "[I've been] asking questions, talking to the students, putting out surveys in the high school to see what their needs are and what they would like. I've talked to local law enforcement and local pastors. But now more than ever, I believe Clinton just needs something positive to rally around."

Witzke plans to call the facility "The Vault," named after the vault-like door located in the basement. After renovations are complete, Witzke plans to keep the door to the vault to use as a prize closet for game nights.

The center will focus on three areas: social, academic, and spiritual wellness. Witzke believes it'll take a community coming together to make it a reality.

"It's looking like it could be $290,000 if it's all hands on deck with volunteers. Habitat for Humanity has already offered to help cut the labor costs. If none of the community helps, it could be into the $400,000 range."

The Clinton community has taken interest in the plan, including the principals of both the high school and junior high.

"I just think having a place for kids to go to after school and on the weekends is something our community needs," explains Drew Goebel, the Principal of Clinton Jr. High. "I think Clinton's very lucky to have a YMCA. Having on top of that, another youth center for kids to do homework, play games, and watch movies, I think our community needs that."

Witzke is working to raise money to buy the building, gain non-profit status, and renovate the facility, with hopes to open "The Vault" for the next school year.

She hopes students take away the message that they are not alone.

"I hope they take that message with them throughout life, that they can be the one person that makes a difference and know that we are all in this together," says Witzke.

Witzke says she would love to have game nights, movie nights, space for laser tag and pool tables in the youth center.

The idea for "The Vault" will be discussed at two upcoming community meetings: Sunday, December 4 at 2pm and Monday, December 5 at 7pm. Both meetings will take place at Clinton High School.

To volunteer, donate, or any other questions regarding "The Vault," email Michelle Witzke at TheVaultClinton@gmail.com or visit The Vault Clinton's Facebook page.

Current Conditions
/
  • Current Events

    • NBC, WAND team up with shelters for Clear the Shelters

      (WAND) - NBC and Telemundo owned stations are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive to help find loving homes for animals in need. 

    • Agribusiness Today

      Get your agribusiness report here!

    • Web Exclusives

      Here at WAND we strive to bring you the latest coverage on news happening across central Illinois, and this page is a continuation of that effort.
    More