The Urbana Youth Center (UYC) recently welcomed a new Assistant Director, Judy Richardson, and a new Director of Programs, Natalie Frueh, to the team of staff members.
Justin T. Weller, Executive Director, explained the importance of the additions.
“Now that the youth center serves more than 400 student members and is working to expand our program offerings, it is essential we build a sustainable approach to serving the needs of our young people. Judy and Natalie are working to make some big and exciting things possible,” Weller said.
As the Assistant Director, Judy Richardson oversees the volunteer corps at the youth center and manages the student check-in and check-out process. She works with the other staff members to deliver the programming lineup for UYC and assists the Executive Director with grants, fundraising and the management of the center.
Before joining UYC, Richardson worked at Honda Research & Development for 20 years as a Specialist in the Engineering Dept. overseeing various processes of vehicles such as annual inventory, sales, disposals and tracking. Richardson retired in October of 2020.
“After five months of retirement, I felt there was more to life than just taking it easy,” Richardson explained. “One day I walked into the Urbana Youth Center to volunteer and my whole life woke up with a purpose.”
Already, students have received homework and study assistance, been fed dinner and healthy snacks through the UYC’s nutrition program and had access to fun and safe hangout spaces. In addition, the youth center offers a hygiene program, career readiness program and mentoring opportunities.
Developing, implementing, and monitoring UYC programs based on success, interest and availability are responsibilities of the new Director of Programs, Natalie Frueh.
Frueh studied elementary education and special education at Indiana Wesleyan University before transferring to The Ohio State University to study animal sciences. After graduating from OSU in 2014, she started her role as program director for Marmon Valley Ministries Horse Camp. She was responsible for hiring and training staff, managing programs, planning events and designing marketing materials.
“I have a real passion for serving young people and developing programs that are fun and beneficial for students,” Frueh explained. “My role at the youth center lets me live this passion in an impactful way.”
Frueh isn’t the only person involved in developing programs at the youth center. She has two official program advisors with more than 65 years of combined experience in education. Lance Jackson and Teresa Hill were both teachers in the Urbana City School district for decades and keenly understand the challenges local students face.
“Both Lance and Teresa are former teachers of mine. I know the students at the youth center are incredibly fortunate to have the experience of two of Urbana’s very best educators working on crafting programs for them. Their expertise is a major asset to the youth center and this community,” Weller explained.
Including official advisors and volunteer advisors, the entire program team brings more than a century of combined education and program experience to the table. According to the youth center team, this will be key to deploying an array of new offerings this fall.
“We won’t give too much away right now, but I can tell you that Natalie and our programs team have big plans for this fall to nearly double our existing lineup of programs. You are not going to want to miss everything that’s planned at the Urbana Youth Center this coming school year,” Weller said.
Weller went on to explain the importance of the new team members.
“As I have said before, building bright futures for our youth is no small task. I feel incredibly fortunate to lead a team that is absolutely committed to serving the youth of this community and securing the future of the next generation.”
About Urbana Youth Center
UYC believes that the future of our children impacts our community’s opportunities and success for decades to come. With open hearts and open minds, this community can rally our resources to not only lift kids up but set them on a trajectory for accomplishing amazing things. The youth center serves students in grades six through 12 who attend Urbana City Schools or live in the district.
The GrandWorks Foundation is a local not-for-profit organization leading several efforts to reach, restore and revive the community. The projects include the historic Gloria Theatre in downtown Urbana, The Big Questions (a podcast exploring some of life’s most pressing topics) and the Urbana Youth Center.
Information from Urbana Youth Center.