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DUBUQUE, Iowa - The old St. Mary's Catholic School building in downtown Dubuque will soon serve as a center focused on keeping kids out of trouble. A group of volunteers is opening what they're calling "The Dubuque Dream Center."
Sitting on her front porch, Tabatha Kircher and her daughter have a view of some things they wish they didn't.
"In this neighborhood, you see a lot of kids running around at all hours of the night. No parents with them. No sense of direction,"
Inside the old St. Mary's School building, time has been standing still for three years. Until now. Organizers say this building will soon be full with one important thing.
"Role models. People who can give direction. People who can hold them accountable. Give them a little disciple, but also a lot of fun," Robert Kimble said.
The Dream Center will become a youth center for children who may not be getting the support they need at home. It's the long time dream of Dubuque native, Robert Kimble. He's currently the youth program director at the Dubuque Community YMCA.
"There was a need when I was a kid and as this community is growing with more diversity and more youth and families coming from different areas. I think there is still a need," Kimble said.
Kimble says the center will have structured activities in team sports, theater and music. But Kimble says he hopes the center will also help unite the downtown community.
"We know it's a tough task." said Kimble. "We know there's a lot of people who live in this community. They love Dubuque. It's a great place and they don't want people coming here messing it up. "
Organizers say The Dream Center will be funded entirely on donations. They plan to have a soft opening with just a few kids later this month. They'll celebrate a grand opening early next year.