Eight years ago, one Killeen man decided he was going to open up a teen center in his hometown. The goal was to give kids in the area a safe haven to be themselves and learn valuable life skills. Today that dream is becoming a reality.
Vantino Fraley has big dreams for the ImPossible Paradigm Shifters Teen Center. But with everyone's pockets stretched thin due to COVID-19, it's put strain on their fundraising efforts.
"We really want to inspire the kids and give them a sense of pride in the building," Fraley said.
It's a labor of love, that has pushed him to the edge. He has been forced to pinch pennies after workers he hired left him high and dry.
"I won’t be able to get the paint done, so I have to go find a painter, but without another budget it looks like I’m going to have to be the painter," said Fraley.
The book keeper, the security guard, founder, creator and then some. They're all roles Fraley has taken on to see the teen center succeeded.
"Really financially, it’s been our biggest issue," he said.
"It’s particularly challenging because of COVID at the moment," said Dr. Dalila Salazar, Professor of Marketing at A&M Central TX.
Running a nonprofit already has its hurdles, which are now amplified due to the coronavirus.
"Marketing has always been kind of a challenge for nonprofits because they don’t necessarily have the same budgets that you would typically have at other organizations private and public," explained Dr. Salazar.
The professor feels the power of social media can help just about anything.
"Being able to gain some traction in terms of virtual communication and getting their passionate word out there is going to be incredibly important for their success. I commend them for continuing on despite the challenges," said Dr. Salazar.
"You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great, and we’re starting. So join us as we start to create something great for our teens. It's extremely important as a community that we don't let this center fail," added Fraley.
Fraley says he has plans to meet with the Killeen City Council to see if there is some type of assistance they can provide, but if you want to lend a helping hand in any way, click here.