Teens have a new yearround hangout at The Door in Bellwood.
It's a garage converted into an arcade and pool room.
The garage has been part of the facility since Dave and Angela Taylor began operating the facility in Bellwood 10 years ago. For years, it was a storage area.
(Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec)
Katelyn Wombacher, 13, watches as Hailey Fetterman concentrates on making a shot as they play pool in a garage that has been converted into a game room for teenagers at The Door in Bellwood.
In 2009, Mustard Seed Ministries studded the walls, installed paneling and framed the ceiling, Dave Taylor said.
"It was empty for six months," he said. "Then something happened."
The Door's soda machine was not working, and the repairman arrived in a truck with arcade games.
Taylor said, the man would place the games in businesses and split the profits with them. He had picked up the games from a customer who no longer wanted them. He explained to Taylor that he rented the truck with the lift to pick up the games and now had to find a new customer for them. He would also need to rent the special truck at least another day because he needed the lift to remove the games.
As the businessman was fixing the soda machine, a woman wearing a hat and dark glasses came down the street and handed Taylor an envelope, he said.
Taylor said she told him: "We don't want people to know who we are. Do something nice for the kids of Bellwood."
When she left, Taylor opened the envelope. It contained $1,000.
Taylor said he asked the man how much he would want for all the arcade games if Taylor took them off his hands. The businessman sold them for $750.
A few weeks later, that same businessman found a pool table in a bar that The Door purchased with Operation Our Town funds.
While the youths enjoyed playing pool and video games, they could only use it during the warm months for about three years because it had limited electricity and lacked heat.
This summer, Volunteers in Mission with the Altoona District of the United Methodist Church ended that problem.
Ron Hoover, who organizes and leads Volunteers in Mission teams, said over three weeks, the team replaced the garage door with a wall, insulated it and added siding to the outside.
Siding also was installed in the area between the roof and the three original concrete walls that had been covered with tarp paper. Soffit and fascia were added as well.
A steel door was placed in the new wall, giving the game room two exit doors.
"They did a super professional job," Taylor said. "They made it look great."
Hoover said the volunteers learned about the job through Second Avenue United Methodist Church's Community Restoration program. A week is set aside each June with teams often coming from other communities to spruce up homes and do other projects in the area.
In addition to The Door project, Volunteers in Mission installed a ramp to aid a handicapped person and cleaned up yards for seniors by trimming trees and hedges and removing the debris.
Hoover said the team took on the The Door project because "one ministry helping another ministry is a good thing." He said it is important to support the youth and helping them will pay off in the future.
In addition to the garage work, the volunteers donated $2,000 in scholarships to allow more Door kids to attend summer camp.
With their local work completed, Volunteers in Mission will head out to help families whose homes have been damaged by natural disasters. In the past, they have made trips to the Gulf states to help people after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or to Greensburg, Kan., destroyed by a tornado in 2007.
On Sept. 8, the team will travel to Joplin, Mo., hit by a tornado in 2011, and on Oct. 7, a team will leave for a week of work in Harrisburg, Ill., severely damaged by a tornado in February.
Hoover said if volunteers want to go to Harrisburg, Ill., the cost is $300 a person to cover expenses.
And as Volunteers in Mission heads to Joplin, a team from Park Forest Baptist Church in State College will arrive in Bellwood to paint and put the finishing touches on The Door's recreation room.
Among the kids who enjoy the game room is Hailey Fetterman, 13, of Bellwood.
"I hang out with my friends and play pool and video games," she said. "It means a lot [to have the room finished], she said.
"It gets congested at The Door. It's a place to go to be outside, but kind of inside, too," she said.