The Penns Valley Youth Center is holding its second annual fundraising banquet at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the Old Gregg School, 106 School St., Spring Mills, and it will feature special guest Herb Hand, Penn State football offensive line coach.
The mission is to raise $100,000 for the center, which aims to give middle and high school students hope, worth and friendship, and encourage healthy habits.
The event began last year as a way to raise money for the center, whose operation is based on donations. The benefit raised $17,000 last year, said Keri Miller, program and outreach coordinator.
The goal this year has more than quintupled.
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“Why not aim for the stars?” Miller said.
The fundraiser will also feature an auction, dinner and other activities. Organizers expect about 200 guests — 30 more than last year.
Miller said she was able to partner with Hand after reaching out to him on Twitter.
“I saw an article that he was really community involved and worked with kids down in Tennessee, so (I) reached out to him, because he would be great to have,” Miller said.
Money raised will help support new programs the center hopes to start, like counseling, Miller said.
The Penns Valley Youth Center has a group of 50 total kids, including about 30 kids who come to the center on a weekly basis.
The center was established in September 2011 after organizers saw a need in the community for teens to have a safe place to help develop positive lifestyles.
“It helps them develop into good community leaders,” Miller said. “We saw the brokenness in lives and in families, and wanted to be able to help give them hope and worth.”
To register for the benefit or to get more information, visit www.pennsvalleyyouthcenter.com.