It all began over 17 years ago when the Lord put this vision in our hearts to create a wholesome, positive, loving and safe environment for our youth to hang out after school. At the time, we were raising a teenager and realized the real need. Our vision was to provide an alternative to existing recreation and entertainment, to offer a safe haven for students. Our idea was to promote respectful attitudes, be uplifting, encouraging, but most of all committed to sharing the love of Jesus with our youth. Our hearts hurt for the generation we were losing to this world and all the influences that surround them. We decided to do something!
In July 2007, with the help of several parents just like us, with a building graciously given, $75 in seed money, and the Lord as our partner; we opened an afterschool drop in center for youth, 6th grade and up in Washington, IA. This faith-based, non-profit was called ONEighty Teen Center and continued to serve the community faithfully, under new leadership until it closed in Dec. 2017. Deb served as Pastor and Executive Director for over 9 years until our move to Minnesota, Jim on the board of Directors as well and as ‘maintenance’ person. We were so blessed to watch how Jesus could change lives and families, students changing their life direction, leaving destructive habits behind and striving to become who God created them to be! Thank you, Papa God!
In April of 2016 after much prayer, we decided to relocate to New Prague, Minnesota to live closer to our children and grandchildren. Jim had a new job, we had found a new church home and we began getting involved in our community. We were feeling like youth ministry was a thing of our past but we soon realized that the needs of the youth in this area were the same or possibly even greater and God wasn’t finished with us yet! The Lord has renewed our vision, reignited our passion to develop a new youth facility here in the New Prague area. We have spent much time in prayer, the Lord has united us with many like-minded community members and the campaign had began in Sept. 2017. The Well Youth Center opened it's doors at it's new physical location on main street in February 2018. We partnered with TreeHouse of Minneapolis in June 2018 with over 40 years of experience working with hurting teens, to bring support groups and one-to-one mentoring to the community. We are excited to see what God has in store here in New Prague and the surrounding area.
God bless you all,
Jim & Deb Bodensteiner