Flooding shuts down Youth First, Northern Lights

The Ramsey kids that use the Youth First site are temporarily without a home.

A broken watermain flooded the building, located at 6701 Highway 10 N.W., Aug. 6.

Approximately 1,200 gallons of water flooded into the building and damaged the flooring and walls, said Chris Anderson of 24 Restore.

The cost of the damage has yet to be determined, he said.

As a result of the flood Youth First has had to change its summer program.

“We have had to cancel the rest of the summer program,” said Heidi Geiss, Youth First program director.

The building will be closed for three to four weeks, she said.

While the kids will still be able to go fishing with the Anoka Lions, planned for this week, the field trips to Bunker Beach and the community clean up project at Bunker Hills Regional Park had to be cancelled to allow staff to work on cleaning up the building and reorganize, she said.

The building, which also houses the Northern Lights Church, has to be completely gutted and cannot be used, Geiss said.

In addition to displacing the Youth First and the church, the flood also destroyed the school supplies collected for needy families.

The water came into the Youth First space in the closet the supplies were stored in, Geiss said.

“It was all wrecked,” she said.

The group also lost computers, office supplies and other items, like board games.

Youth First had planned to distribute school supplied Aug, 28 from the Ramsey site.

Everyone will have to come to the Anoka Youth First site, 2903 Euclid Ave., now, Geiss said.

While programs for the Northern Lights Church have not been cancelled, they have been relocated.

The church will be holding services at the old city hall site, 15253 Nowthen Blvd. N.W., said Pam Paolo, administrator of United Methodist Church of Anoka, which is Northern Lights’ parent church.


Immediate needs

With the destruction of the school supplies, Youth First is asking for donations to replace them.

The school supplies, such as three-ring binders, Crayola markers and colored pencils, pencils, multi-subject notebooks and quality backpacks, can be brought to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, Ramsey and Anoka police departments or the city halls in Andover, Anoka and Ramsey.

On the positive side, this flood can been a good lesson for the children of Youth First as they are seeing how the staff is rallying through this and how people are working together to reopen the center, Geiss said.

“It is a great lesson on how things happen and how they have to figure out a way to fix the problem and move on,” she said.

For more information on how to help Youth First, contact Geiss at 763-421-8530.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]