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Crossroads aims to aid Wright Co. kids

‘Fun-Raiser’ is set in motion

August 15, 2009
By LINDSEY ORY, Messenger Correspondent

GOLDFIELD -What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Heather Crees, a junior at Clarion-Goldfield, will attempt cosmetology school upon graduation.

"I would also give all the kids in our town an opportunity to have what they don't," Crees said.

That may sound complicated. In this town of 600, life is complicated.

Kids, as in other Iowa towns, come from broken homes or deal with their parents' drug addictions, which is not always the most opportune environment for a child to realize his or her full potential.

But these kids do have hope. Crees isn't the only local who wants Goldfield and its surrounding area youth to have bright futures.

Fact Box

If you want to donate to Crossroads and help it reach its $50,000 goal, contact Craig Carlson at or at 515-293-2767 for more information on the project. If you would like to check out the facilities, they're located at 502 N Main St., Goldfield.

So does Craig Carlson and crew.

Carlson started at the Crossroads Ministries as director of youth ministries eight months ago. Since starting, Carlson's experienced numerous miracles.

"I saw potential here," Carlson said, referring to the Crossroads he saw when he came for a job interview, "and I felt at peace here. Ever since I started, I feel like I've had to sprint to keep up with all the doors that Jesus opened for us."

Since arriving, Carlson has rounded up computers, video games, a ping pong table, projector for Monday night football and Bible study and other activities for the kids to enjoy on Friday and Saturday nights. He has also made connections and rebuilt bridges with area churches, businesses and organizations.

"We're also getting the kids out in the community," Carlson said. "For Easter the town had an Easter Egg hunt in the park, and the kids came and picked up the sticks beforehand. We just want them to be visible and show the community they are constructive and not destructive."

As time passes, Carlson sees the rest of his vision - converting the youth center into a family and youth center - on the brink of reality.

"We want these kids to connect with adults," Carlson said, "to help show them their potential and find their direction."

But as Carlson began dreaming of a coffee shop and outdoor movies, budget shortfalls began to creep into the picture, slowly but surely threatening to shut some of those open doors.

Then a window opened, revealing a kindred spirit in Jim Seibert four months ago. Carlson said he was praying for leadership and soon he received a call from Seibert saying he "felt led" to give Carlson a call.

"I'm not a fundraiser guy," Carlson said. "I build relationships and break down walls. We're all called upon to serve the Lord differently."

Seibert, on the other hand, has the gift of gab and - apparently- fundraising.

"The project really started with lowering the roof and mushroomed into much more," Seibert said.

The project Carlson and Seibert launched Aug. 1 is a two-year "fun-raising campaign" called Together - Building for the Future. The goal is to raise $50,000. Since Aug. 1 the group has raised $10,000.

On the youth center's list of things to improve are repairing exterior walls, installing exterior lights, lowering the ceiling to save on heating and cooling costs, creating an outdoor basketball court, purchasing a volleyball net, window blinds, a gaming loft, free gaming tables - and the list continues.

Local businesses have donated to the cause by providing the basketball and volleyball courts.

"We're really excited," Seibert said. "Once it was asked, 'do we really need Crossroads?' I just looked at the person and said we need it now more than ever."

With more and more families facing tough times, Carlson and Seibert believe communities must look toward their future, and that future is the youth - no matter how unruly they may be.

"I've told some of the kids before, and I'm sure I'll tell them again," Seibert said. "There's a better way than what you lived."

Carlson and volunteers aimr to provide kids with a sense of hope and opportunity and direction during one-on-one and group activities at the center.

"We want this to be their destination point on Friday and Saturday nights rather than a drug party," Carlson said.

But Carlson's vision encompasses adults as well. He eventually wants the center to be a place people are proud of, where they will mingle with the kids and build relationships. Perhaps eventually, it will house a support group for parents who would like to learn how to better communicate with their children.

"We want to set the example of Christian love by caring for these kids and setting high goals for them," Seibert said. "High enough that they're difficult but attainable, so they can reach the goals and move on to the next."

Already the kids feel the goals for the youth center are attainable.

"It was very boring before," Randy Johnson, a sophomore at Clarion-Goldfield, said. Then, just as quickly, he listed a variety of items soon to come to the center.

"We're going to get a projector on the wall in here and one to go outside so we can watch movies," Johnson said. "We're going to get a Wii and more games."

"It's just something to do in Goldfield," Crees said.

Contact Lindsey Ory at (515) 573-2141 or



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