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Student Union celebrates 25 years

The Warren Area Student Union is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The non-profit located at the Warren Armory Building on Hickory St. was founded in 1998 to provide free after-school activities for youth from fifth through twelfth grades.

“Situated within the historic Armory building at 303 Hickory Street, WASU isn’t just a physical space but a catalyst for growth and development in the lives of the children it serves,” Gary Franklin, WASU treasurer, told the Times Observer.

Pam Falber has led the organization for more than 20 years. “Her steadfast commitment has been pivotal in shaping the lives of countless young individuals within the community,” Franklin said.

The mission is pretty succinct: “A place for youth to gather, spend time constructively, grow mentally and emotionally, learn social skills, respect and responsibility, build maturity, give back to the community, and have fun.”

Franklin highlighted WASU’s unique approach.

“It is a youth organization run by kids for kids,” he explained. “The Youth Board actively shapes activities, raises funds, and organizes community volunteering, instilling essential life skills and values of community service and self-worth in its members. Simultaneously, the Adult Board shoulders the responsibility of managing the Armory building, ensuring its upkeep and sustainability through fundraising and maintenance efforts.”

“We may look at this building and see nothing more than an old armory building, but our kids look at this building and see endless possibilities,” one member of the organization said. “Let us not prove them wrong.”

The organization acknowledges the “unwavering support” of its donors who have been “instrumental in impacting the lives of numerous young individuals in the community.”

“Looking ahead, the organization remains resolute in its commitment to expanding programs and continuing its vital work to reach and inspire more young minds,” Franklin said.

Organizers insist that donations to WASU aren’t strictly financial contributions but “investments in the future of Warren County” that “play a crucial role in fostering a brighter and promising future for the youth.”

“The success of WASU is not just in the years it has thrived but in the lives it has positively impacted, laying the groundwork for a better and empowered future for the youth of Warren County,” Franklin said. “Join the celebration and be a part of this impactful journey towards nurturing the potential of our young generations.”

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