Supporting Youth in Aitkin and Itasca Counties
The Palisade Area Community Kids Education Resource Service otherwise known as P.A.C.K.E.R.S. is a non-profit organization, that operates a Youth Center supported by rental services, donations, contributions, work programs and grants from very generous people, all with a goal of providing a safe, fun place for all youth to gather and be guided by caring adults.
“Our goal is to create a safe and supervised place for kids in this community to come to for sports, activities and other social and educational events,” says Ron Nielsen “We want to empower, develop and encourage productive interactions between our members while recognizing them as important members of the Palisade and Hill City Areas.”
During the school year, the Youth Center is open year-round except major holidays, to all students in grades 7-12. There are also programs for Grades 5-6 as well. Students are often involved in activities like pickleball, basketball, volleyball, billiards, Nerf guns, laser tag, and RC cars. These are activities which allow kids to challenge their thought processes. Board games, card games and other similar activities that are not electronic devices help kids unplug and spur new interests.
Through the Endowed Sharing Fund and Barzen Fund, the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation supported the P.A.C.K.E.R.S organization with $3,000 to provide clothing to school-aged students in Deer River. “Ron kept talking about getting gaylords of clothing,” notes Brianna Spry, “and at first we didn’t understand. However, after a short conversation, we realized that Ron was able to get a whole bunch of clothing for Deer River High School and King Elementary. They also purchased soap, shampoos, deodorant, toothpaste and tooth brushes.” “Kids go to school regularly wearing the same outfits day after day, week after week. This began another area where we can supply a need to kids who experience adverse situations,” concludes Nielsen.
The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area – and the world – a better place to live. We invite you to become part of the good work we do, and to include us in the conversation with your financial or estate planner to answer the question “What good do you want your money to do?” For more information, schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.