So much to smile about for one-n-ten Wednesday.
The group which aims to serves LGBTQ teenagers and young adults across the state is celebrating a new milestone: the opening of their new center. The organization officially reopened its doors at a building near Central Avenue and Portland.
"This is a rebirth," explains Travis Shumake, development director with one-n-ten. "This is a rising from the ashes; from the fire. It's important for the whole community."
Two months ago, one-n-ten got the horrible news that their old building, which was still a center of activity, was on fire.
Investigators say surveillance video shows Darren William Beach, Jr. setting a room on fire.
At one point, Beach, Jr. was a youth at one-n-ten.
"I think you have that, 'Not one-n-ten, not us,' mentality," explains Shumake.
But it wasn't just the organizers who took the news of the fire pretty hard. It was also the teens and young adults the group serves who also saw it as an obstacle.
"It was really hard because I've been in that room and I know that space," explains Skyler Tcholsky-Froke. "I could see where they walked and it was done with such anger and intention. It was harmful to me and it really took me aback."
But now, sitting in the brand new 5,000-square-foot center, Skyler knows this organization is getting a fresh start.
The new center is conveniently located near the light rail. One-n-ten hopes that means even more youth will come through their doors. In fact, they estimate this year, they'll serve anywhere from 1,100-1,200 teens and young adults, up from around 900 last year.
"We really feel like the sky is the limit for us right now," says Shumake. "And as we grow, we can reach more youth across the state."
According to MCSO's website, the suspect, Beach, Jr., is still behind bars. He's expected back in court next week for a hearing.
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