OKC Youth Center Struggling To Recover After May 31 Tornado

Sunday, June 16th 2013, 10:27 pm
By: News 9

As we keep an eye on the possibility of severe storms, a center dedicated to helping young men is struggling to get back on its feet after the May 31 tornado.

The roof was ripped off and flooding ruined the inside of the building. It's not hard to miss all the debris outside the Teen Challenge International Center weeks after the storm.

"Where the steps are right now, water was running down. It was like a waterfall," said the center's program director Robert Dancz. "Water poured in by the feet."

Inner City Church on SW 55th St. rents the building to the recovery program, but the center is now in recovery mode itself.

"We have to relocate our ministries, our class times and different things," Dancz said. "And a lot of what we do here at Teen Challenge is based on our structure for our men who are here and that's a huge part of what we do, and the storm's derailed it all."

All of their teaching material, paperwork, pews in their chapel, kitchen, and A/C unit are destroyed. The roof caved in on their electrical system, so the building remains without power.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak 

Nineteen men are enrolled in the 13-month program designed to get rid of addictions. They live on campus and say each day's a struggle.

"We came back to floods and we found our roof in the parking lot, so we've just been kind of makeshift," said Joseph Thein, a student in the recovery program.  "So there's a little of whining, and stuff, but we get in there and we take a cold shower, and then help with the laundry, and the best way to do it is just keep helping."

Students help with organizing the loads of donations in the Disaster Relief center next door. So even though their classrooms and offices are ruined, they believe the center will bounce back.

"We're just hoping that we can do something above and beyond what was here before," Dancz said.

The center is waiting to hear from their insurance adjustor and hope to meet with some contractors soon to get all new ceramic tile, drywall, and carpet to help their renovations.

The Disaster Relief center at Inner City Church is open on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. located at 2212 SW 55th St. in Oklahoma City.