As in true Mesquite fashion, the newest facility for the local youth received a grand reception on April 7 as DaySprings Ranch Youth Center opened its doors for the first time to nearly 150 teens and community leaders. The center, located at 221 First South Street, Suite A, behind Ace Hardware, is already proving to be the newest and coolest hangout for teens.
With DJ Fuego pumping music in the background and Mesquite Fire Department crewmembers grilling food favorites, teens from Mesquite tested out the multitude of games and activities available to them on a daily basis. For years, parents have been asking for a youth center. The reactions observed from last week’s grand opening announcement showed promising potential, but as usual, the community came through it together and produced a safe place for teens to hang out after school and during breaks. “Mesquite truly is an amazing place,” said co-owner Dennis Lee. “It is so heartwarming to know that this community comes through for the kids every time. And they’re right to. These kids are our future, so it’s beneficial that we play a role in their lives as much as possible.” DaySprings is far from being complete, however. Lee is still seeking another pool table to be donated as well as input from the teens on where improvements need to happen. Overall, however, it seemed like the teens who were there were just fine with the way things are now. “It’s great to see this come to fruition,” said Mesquite Mayor Al Litman, who has worked with Lee numerous times when needed to help make things happen. Now comes the hard part for Lee, as he searches for volunteers and donations to keep the center open indefinitely. Due to the fact that the center revolves around minors, Lee must keep certain insurance in place. All of his volunteers need to be vetted through a background check and then scheduled accordingly. All in all, the center needs about $2,000 a month to stay open.
Thanks to local businesses, all of the supplies for the grand opening were donated, as well as several raffle prizes that some of the teens took home with them. One local businessman, who wishes to remain anonymous, challenged the community to keep the center open. “If you are financially able to, and I understand not everyone is,” he said, “then I challenge you to donate $100 per month to the DaySprings Ranch Youth Center. I know I will be,” he said. Because the youth center is a 501c-3, all donations should be tax deductible. If 20 people accepted that challenge, the center would be able to maintain its operations and provide a place that teens have needed for years. “There are so many things that we buy on a monthly basis that we don’t really need,” said the donor. “It wouldn’t be too hard to donate as little or as much of that cost that will go towards helping the youth in our city.” Lee’s wife, Michaela, has some other items in mind that would be beneficial to the facility as well, such as bookshelves for games and storage and a secure cabinet to keep cleaning chemicals in safely. Since our last story, the center acquired a desk that may be used for teens who need a quiet place to get their homework done. As
Lee said before, the DaySprings Ranch Youth Center will be a constant work in progress. One issue did arise from the grand opening, however, in regards to several families who have other kids outside of the 13-18 year age range. “We are bound by insurance requirements,” said Lee. “But for those reasons, we have to restrict the ages and make sure that our staff has been checked to meet those requirements.” Lee did tell the MLN that there will be some community open houses in the near future to further educate the
community on their mission. Those will likely be held during off hours when the youth are not there. “For insurance reasons, we must stay with the 13-18 year age range. Opening the center up to anything other than that is a whole new ballgame.” For more information on the DaySprings Ranch Youth Center, to volunteer or to donate games or money, contact Lee at 702-427-3854.