Organization Helping At Risk Teens Plans to Help More

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DES MOINES, Iowa --You can find all sorts of handmade goods and special coffees at a teen arts festival this weekend. The art show is a fundraiser for an organization that helps local teens now and hopes to help even more in the future.

Coffee is a passion for Brian Dannenmueller. He said, "Roasting coffee is extremely fun."

He is the roaster at Freedom for Youth Ministries, which is an organization helping kids and teens who are at risk. "I had no resources and no where to go. So, I came to Freedom for Youth not knowing what I was doing with my life and they shared the Gospel with me and gave me an amazing job to start my life over," he said.

36 central Iowa churches fund the ministry through donations. It serves about 450 teens each week at eight centers in central Iowa. In addition to selling the roasted coffee to churches and small businesses, teens can also work in the artist studio.

They sell their projects throughout the year and at the upcoming TeenArts Fest. Recent Hoover High School Graduate Larson Niyintunze said, “It’s helped me a lot to grow and to be a better man and Christian.”

Freedom for Youth plans to expand its campus on Hickman Road. The organization bought the car wash next door with plans to open a coffee shop. Denise Juhl with Freedom for Youth Ministries said, "Our young adults will be able to work there full time, or part time if they are going to school part time."

The shop should open to the public in January and provide 30 to 40 jobs in a location that is lacking. "We're in the inner city on the north side and there's just not a lot of job opportunities, especially for teens, and we really want to change the bonds of poverty,” said Juhl.

The organization has already helped Dannenmueller . He said, "Now I'm looking at going back to college and hopefully changing the world. But what I'm doing right now is changing myself."

You can see everything the organization has to offer Saturday, June 13 at the TeensArts Fest. The Freedom for Youth Ministries holds its TeenArts Fest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its campus at 2301 Hickman Road in Des Moines. And, for all pet lovers out there, the teens are selling something new this year. You can find pet beds made out of burlap bags that previously held coffee beans.