13 Jun The Youth Opportunity Center Celebrates 25 Years of Serving Kids

The Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a dinner and program at the Horizon Convention Center on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Surrounded by more than 370 friends, donors, board members and staff, the evening celebrated visionary retired circuit court judge Steven Caldemeyer’s commitment to youth and families, honored direct-care staff who work on the frontline with the kids, and planted a vision for the care of the next generation of children in our community.

Following dinner, a tribute video highlighted Caldemeyer’s passion and commitment to our community’s families and children through the establishment of the YOC in 1992. Caldemeyer stated,

“You know life’s ever changing. You don’t know what’s going to happen 25 years from now. All you can do is give the kids a good conscience and a good sense of responsibility. I learned one thing from dealing with kids, that they respect honesty and consistency. I suppose in all my time working with juveniles, that’s all I’ve learned. But that’s a lot.”

The evening was filled with fun and meaning including an inspirational talk by Chad Porter (Wilmington, NC), one of Zig Ziglar’s team. Porter shared his personal story of triumph following a boating accident which resulted in the loss of a leg and a very long recovery. Porter stated, “Hope keeps you going when you don’t know how to answer the question, ‘Why me?’” An all-around athlete turned motivational speaker, Porter also challenged the audience to believe and invest in the children in our communities.

Jeff Parsons, YOC board chair, provided a unique opportunity for the guests to express appreciation to the YOC staff. Each guest was invited to write a message of hope on a preprinted note card. One guest wrote, “Thank you for giving these broken children hope for tomorrow and providing education, emotional and loving support…” The cards will be framed and displayed on campus as a memento of the event.

At the conclusion of the evening, Mr. Kelly Stanley, a well-known community leader, YOC board member and campaign chair, shared his passion for the YOC and the kids in our community. “The YOC is an outstanding organization with strong leadership and a passionate, dedicated staff,” Stanley remarked. “My wife, Donna, and I had the opportunity to visit the YOC a few years ago and were immediately hooked and wanted to do more ‘For the Kids’. The needs of children in our community are extensive and this campaign is one way to secure funding needed for the next generation of children in our community. I am honored to chair the Transforming Together: The Next Chapter campaign which will transform the lives of children.”

The YOC is grateful for the generous support of Presenting Sponsor Pridemark Construction, Supporting Sponsor R&R Engineering, and Underwriting Sponsors Hays Companies, Sater Electric, Inc.Sursa Griner Wealth Management of Raymond James®, and Titan Electric Company.