"To connect with youth, especially those at risk, on the Olympic Peninsula and help them take their lives to the Next Level through education, mentoring, and opportunity."
A problem worth addressing…
We have heard it said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation.” So where does that leave us when we see the family structure collapsing in our communities? Do we idly stand at the sidelines and watch the future of our society struggle without the knowledge, skill transference, and means necessary to be successful? Do we lose hope, resort to cynicism, and retreat? Or do we once again unite the strength of our communities, as humanity has done for thousands of years - "There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about." (Margaret J. Wheatley)
In July of this year, Angela and I moved to the Olympic Peninsula, to bring our passion, networking abilities, and love to the peninsula’s youth. As the largest and oldest city on the peninsula, and original home to the Klallam (“Strong People”) and Makah Indian tribes, the City of Port Angeles is the primary urban center of the North Olympic Peninsula, and contributes to more than 20% of its residents.
Although this cozy town is nestled at the base of a breath-taking mountain range and in view of Canada, Port Angeles has one of the highest crime rates when compared to all communities of all sizes in America! The public schools report a huge increase in youth homelessness and truancy at Clallam Juvenile Justice Center (directly impacted by “defunding the police” and COVID-19). In addition, the communities have little-to-no youth-friendly establishments open later than about 7 PM! Therefore, we believe it is vital that we pioneer a community center to invest in the youth of the peninsula, beginning in Port Angeles and expanding to other communities as resources become available and doors open!
The solution we see…
At the core or every human is the desire for purpose, belonging, and love. The difference between surviving and thriving is often a few adjustments, and we see Next Level as a place to discover that meaning, community, and value. Whether shoring up a deficiency in a relational skill, acquiring a practical life skill or investing in a natural strength; our goal is to draw upon the strength of the community to help support and empower the next generation.
This means we must intentionally position ourselves at the natural crossroads of the next generation. From geographical location to program development and services/education provided, we understand where the students are coming from. As a result, we desire to help them identify where they are going and assist them however we can along the way. Regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, sexual feelings, race, educational level or religious and political ideal, Next Level will be a local gathering place for all. The facility will include a coffee house where people can meet for coffee, experience community, and develop relationships in a safe environment.
We plan to provide quality hand-crafted coffee and a quiet workspace for distance working and distance learning. Programs at our facility will focus on youth enrichment courses: goal setting, job readiness, healthy relationship tools, and general life skills, such as personal finance, home economics, automotive care, shop/construction, self-defense, etc. Finally, we are excited about providing the community with a location for a healthy night-life, open till 10 PM – making us a one-of-a-kind safe location available to all ages to connect, play games (from our available game libraries), enjoy bringing their talents to ‘open-mic nights’ and other regularly scheduled events!
The support you give…
We NEED your prayer partnership! We are asking for protection for our family and team, as we put ourselves in spiritual crossfire. Continued partnerships with local individuals and organizations are growing, and we desire to see the spirit of competition lifted. Our connection with students in and outside the juvenile center is good, and we want to see that continue. Lastly, we are asking for prayer for unity and direction of the team at Next Level.
We NEED your financial partnership! Our desire is to have a year or two of operational costs covered before we open the doors. This would include rent/mortgage, improvements, utilities, staffing, marketing, and program development. [We are currently researching a projected budget.] Recently, we came across a space that has LOADS of potential and looks like the perfect fit for our vision! It is within walking distant from two high schools and the middle school! Wow! It would truly be a dream to be in this 4,200 sq/ft space! The owner is asking $2250/mo. for a lease or $375,000 to purchase (before negotiation).
We are also planning to apply for grants to cover some of the start-up and long-term expenses, but grants take time to write and manage. Ranging from small local organizations to national foundations, the purposes of these grants often focus on education, youth development, workforce readiness, civic and cultural growth, and measurable impact on general quality of life.
So here’s the need….
We are looking for 100 of our friends and prayer partners to commit to pray specifically for this project and, as you can afford to, pledge $30 per month over the next 24 months to help get us started. This will accomplish the following:
Researching of the proper facility – assessments, surveys, and applications
Provide the funds necessary to create and maintain a campaign online and in the community – graphics, banners, letters, postage…
Networking with potential partners, mentors, local businesses, churches, and other community players
Thank you so much for considering a partnership with us!
We are so excited to regularly share with you the challenges and victories of this journey. The stories and triumphs along the way are so important to record, so we will be blogging and vlogging on (nextlvled.com) regularly to record these milestones for both of us!
Thank you so much for your time and investment!
Lucas and Angela Fennell, Founders
Next Level Education, a community outreach of InFocus Ministries.