About four years ago, Kelly and Donna Stanley toured the Youth Opportunity Center for the first time. It was an experience that opened their eyes and changed their lives.
“On our drive home that day I said to Donna, ‘We need to do something,’ Her response was not, ‘If,’ but, ‘When and how much.’”
The Stanleys are well-known in the Muncie community for their philanthropic efforts. But these days, no cause is closer to their hearts than the Youth Opportunity Center. “Touring the YOC turned us into instant supporters,” Donna said. “Seeing the facility and the staff in action made it clear how much good the YOC does for children.”
Shortly after their tour, Kelly joined the YOC board of the directors. He and Donna also became active volunteers, visiting the children there during the holidays and bringing them gifts during Christmas. Those visits are often joyful, but they can also be heartbreaking.
“I recall one time when a child was very excited for his dad to come visit,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately, he never arrived.”
While scenes like that are difficult to witness, Kelly says they highlight the critical role the YOC plays in the community. “Every young person is a candidate to become a productive citizen. But some have a more difficult path than others. Those that have a more difficult path need help, and the YOC provides it.”
The Stanleys understand that everyone must follow their own passion when it comes to philanthropy. But Kelly believes that a single YOC tour will turn just about anyone into a supporter.
“I tell people all the time, ‘If you take a tour, you’ll want to give financial support to their mission—and you’ll be glad you did.’”