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PIONEER BIBLE CHURCH Pastor Rob Langford, left, and Paxton Ftizpatrick, youth ministry member, have been part of a major volunteer effort to repurpose two portables into a teen center. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins


Community support builds teen facility

By From page B2 | March 31, 2014

Students at Pioneer and Mountain Creek schools soon will be able to walk across the road and spend after-school hours — and the summer — in a brand-new teen center, courtesy of the South County community and generous support from others, including the El Dorado Union High School District.

Members of the Pioneer Bible Church congregation for years have been gathering funds to convert two portable buildings into a teen center on the church property, raising $60,000 since 2008. Some $9,300 still is needed, however, and toward that end the annual Pioneer Bible Church Yard Sale is set for Friday and Saturday, April 4 and 5, with fabulous items for sale including furniture, appliances and other big-ticket items.

One hundred percent of the sales will go toward finishing up the teen center, which will be inside two buildings that are each 960 square feet, 24 by 40 feet in dimension: plenty of room for the lively bunch that will get out of school each day and head for a safe haven. It also will provide a place to hang out during the summer.

Lots of work went into renovating the two portables, which were scheduled for demolition before the high school district decided to offer them for free. Pioneer called dibs on two and two others went to the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County.

Youth Ministry members Paxton Fitzpatrick and Jamin Eggert have spent the past year working on the building project, also lending their talents to developing the church youth group. Jamin is the son of one of the church’s two pastors, Jim Eggert.

Paxton’s mom, Shari Fitzpatrick, said the buildings were in pretty rough shape when they arrived and to see them now is quite uplifting for her and others.

“We had to get them from Independence High, and transport them, all in a matter of two weeks,” Shari recalled. “We’re so grateful for the community support in helping us get this far.”

Although the two buildings right next to the church at 6851 Mt. Aukum Road are still waiting to be filled up inside, it’s easy to picture where the ping pong table, foos ball and air hockey games will fit.

A solitary couch sits near a window with a restful view of the South County splendor in one building and it’s not hard to imagine how it will look once more furniture arrives.

That’s where the community comes in, once again, Shari emphasized.

“We’re looking for any and all donations for the yard sale,” she said. “We’d like to tug at the heartstrings of the public as to what a great cause this is and we’d love to see donations of any type. That means motor homes, boats, trucks …” she trailed off, smiling.

Shari’s husband Clay will be on the premises at the church the Thursday evening before the two-day yard sale, providing security for the donated items and accepting last-minute drop-offs into the night. Clay is a member of the Pioneer Bible Church’s Men’s Ministry, which will be providing food and drink for purchase during the colossal yard sale.

The organizers promise there will be “something for everyone” during the yard sale, which starts at 8 a.m. each day. In addition to furniture and appliances, featured items will include toys, tools, glassware and knick-knacks that will tempt you to open up your purse or pocketbook. Because they are accepting donations at the very last minute, no telling what treasures might surface.

The church’s other pastor, Rob Langford, said he couldn’t be happier with the way the community has responded in supporting the renovation of the two buildings to become a teen center and he added that he hopes this year’s yard sale will bring friends and neighbors out once again.

He said there is a definite need for such a facility in the South County.

“We’re kind of isolated down here,” he said. “Our youth would greatly benefit from programs here, similar to what the Boys and Girls Club has. There has been tremendous community support for this project. I am proud that it’s going to be finished soon.”

Langford added that the intent is to make the teen center a facility that is for youth and actually “belongs” to the young people of the community.

“We (adult members of the congregation) painted the canvas, prepared it, now they may do what they want with it. It’s absolutely theirs,” said Langford.

During work projects to help pour cement for walkways and patio areas, to build walkways and other improvements, as many as 46 kids have shown up to help, according to Paxton. The teen center will welcome kids from sixth grade to college age.

Paxton said although it has taken years to come to fruition, the year he and Jamin spearheaded the effort “seems like it has gone by really fast.”

“Jamin and Pastor Jim had a lot to do with it,” he concluded.

June 15 is the tentative opening date for the new teen center at the Pioneer Bible Church, 6851 Mount Aukum Road in Somerset.

For more information or to donate items for the huge yard sale call 530-620-4859.

Pat Lakey

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