One of our stated goals is making “Reynolds Avenue a hub of community activities.” Before 2009, we had ideas, but hadn’t found the right “spark” that would really make our vision a reality. Then one day, our CEO Bill Stanfield received a call from a police officer. They had discovered a vacant commercial building just down the street from Metanoia that was being used for illegal activities. Bill contacted the building’s owner, retired Judge Clyde Robinson. Judge Robinson wanted to donate the building on 2021 Reynolds Avenue to a worthy cause, in this case Metanoia. Thus, the seeds of Youth Entrepreneurship Center were planted. Our corporate partners MWV Specialty Chemicals kicked off a capital campaign for the building by donating $150,000 in late 2011. Since then, we have raised over $500,000 towards the completion of the building from a variety of committed corporate and private donors. In addition, thousands of dollars in pro-bono services and labor have been donated by architectural firms, construction companies and volunteer groups. On May 1st, 2014 we will cut the ribbon on the new Youth Entrepreneurship & Volunteer Center. It will be the culmination of years of vision and hard work from the entire community and will serve as a spark for the economic revitalization of Reynolds Avenue.
The two-story 2500-square foot building will house our growing youth businesses, expand class space for the older Civic Leader students, create a dormitory-style living quarters for volunteers upstairs and also provide a high-quality one-bedroom rental opportunity for Metanoia interns. As students are working downstairs to grow their business skills, earn money and develop as leaders, volunteers upstairs will work alongside Metanoia while drawing resources to our community. By 2015, there will be a Café installed in the front portion of the building. Here, more area youth will be able to gain work experience while generating economic activity in our neighborhood.