, the 5,400-square-foot community center where teenagers can relax is not only set to re-open with an Open House on Sept. 14, but it also has a chance to win a $250,000 grant from the nationwide Chase Bank Grant initiative.
The organization's 27-year-old president and director, , is fully aware that he faces a mountain of competition from other well-intentioned non-profit organizations that reach out to serve others, but he remains hopeful.
Because this popular hangout is both a healthy place and it's well-supervised, it has gained support from churches, schools and governmental agencies in the Lincoln-Way region. The Hub was nominated as among the 196 charities eligible for the $250,000 grant from the Chase Bank Grant initiative.
Stinnett said, "The Hub has a chance to win up to $250,000 in the Chase Community Giving's latest Giveaway."
He's asking the community for its support and outreach to friends all over the country to cast a vote for The Hub "to help make a difference in the lives of thousands of young people in our community.
"This could be a real game changer for The Hub," he said.
How do you vote?
The voting takes place between Sept. 6-19. Anyone with a Facebook account or a Chase account is eligible to vote. To cast a vote on behalf of Stinnett's organization, simply go to The Hub website and follow the links that will be in place on Sept. 6.
"Of course, we'll need lots of votes to win the grand prize. That means we're going to need the entire community's help." Stinnett invites supporters to spread the word to family, friends and co-workers.
For The Hub, vote getting is as important at the presidential candidates. The Hub is working hard, he said, to win the quarter of a million dollars. However, there are other prizes. Besides the $250,000, top vote getters have an opportunity to tap:
- 10 available $100K prizes
- 35 available $50K prizes
- 50 available 25K prizes
- 100 available 10K prizes
What The Hub means to one teen.
For New Lenox's Nick Kemp-Bystrzycki, an 18-year-old freshman at in Joliet, the Hub worked like a healing salve over an emotional wound. He recalled how he'd been attempting to grapple alone with the loss of his little brother due to illness. Then the death in the family took a deeper toll; his parents got divorced.
Two years ago, said Kemp-Bystrzycki, "I started coming to The Hub. It's the place where he found acceptance, formed friendships and found a listening ear. The Hub and Stinnett were there when Kemp-Bystrzycki needed a helping hand. It was a place where Kemp-Bystrzycki could simply let loose of the problems that plagued his mind. .
"Without it, I really would have gone down the wrong path," he told New Lenox Patch. Feeling alone, frustrated, sad, angry and confused, Kemp-Bystrazycki said he could smile again while watching the bands play. He could talk and laugh with kids, play video games or just hangout.
"I met my closest friends there," he said. "I got to know Dan too. He's helped me a lot. He was there when I needed him."
At The Hub, he said, "I'm just happy to be there. You see great people, and it's nice to talk to people there."
Kemp-Bystrazycki explained that the idea of The Hub is not solely about a particular building. It's an attitude.
Like the sweet smell of a scented candle that wafts through a room, the unseen compassion and positive vibes of The Hub know no physical boundaries. "Dan cares about people," he said.
After Kemp-Bystrazycki's brother's death, his mother started a foundation to help other families attempting to deal with the symptoms and difficulties associated with a immune deficiency disease. "I told Dan about it, but I was just talking. I didn't expect him to show up" to support the foundation, but he came out."
Fresh starts and a chance to perform
The Hub has also been the debut stage for many freshly-formed local bands. It's a place where they can perform in public for the first time or the 100th time, said Stinnett. There's a stage, sound equipment, lights and a receptive crowd.