Lighthouse Youth Center's Fall Harvest Auction set for this Saturday
● By Lev
Lighthouse Youth Center executive director Buzz Tyson (on right), volunteer coordinator Amy Perkins (left), and youngsters Jalen Webster and Azon Twyman, display some of the items that will be auctioned off this Saturday.
By Steven Hoffman
The 26th annual auction to benefit the Lighthouse Youth Center will take place this Saturday, Nov. 8, with a preview dinner on Friday, Nov. 7 at the Oxford Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.
Buzz Tyson, the executive director of the Lighthouse, said that he considers these events to be among his favorites each year, perhaps ranking just behind the Christmas program that the youth center holds for children each December.
“Seeing all the fellowship that happens is wonderful,” Tyson said. The funds raised during the auction helps support the operating costs of the youth center, which provides a wide range of after-school programs and activities for children between the ages of 9 and 18.
The auction begins at 9 a.m. and continues until all the items have been auctioned off.
“It’s a benefit auction,” Tyson explained. “A lot of people see the value in supporting and believing in this wonderful youth ministry and truly want to bless the Lighthouse’s programs.”
The auction includes hundreds of items, ranging from a 2010 Buick Lacrosse to a 1983 pedal tractor to a one week vacation in Chincoteague, Virginia to dozens of gift certificates to local businesses.
“The Amish community and businesses from Chester and Lancaster counties have blessed us with items to sell at our auction,” Tyson explained.
Gift certificates to numerous restaurants, grocery stores, and furniture stores will be auctioned off, as will admission tickets to Longwood Gardens, the National Toy Train Museum, the Dutch Winter Wonderland Family Amusement Park.
Some of the auction items will appeal to sports fans—tickets to Eagles, Flyers, and Phillies games will be up for bid.
Howe’s Turkeys of Downingtown is donating fresh, all-natural turkeys just in time for Thanksgiving.
Many people in the community also donate personal services as part of the auction. For example, Eva Hershey will make a T-shirt quilt out of any T-shirts that the winning bidder gives her for the quilt. Nancy Ware Sapp is donating a specialty cake for up to 75 people. Some families are offering a prepared dinner in their homes as an auction item.
The auction has grown considerably over the years. Tyson said that when it started, there would be about 30 gift certificates available. Now, there are over 200 gift certificates donated for the auction.
A pork roast dinner to preview some of the auction items will take place on Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children under the age of nine.
Tyson said that the pork roast dinner usually attracts between 500 and 600 people, and is known for its feeling of fellowship as everyone eats together.
As the 2014 auction and dinner is taking place, the Lighthouse is in the process of moving to a new, larger home on Commerce Street. Tyson said that work on the building is proceeding nicely and should be ready early in 2015. The new center will be 11,250 square feet, more than double the current building, and will include an indoor basketball court that is nearly full size and a half-court gymnasium, as well as space for outdoor recreation.
The extra room will allow the Lighthouse to expand its services. Currently, the youth center provides supervised after-school recreation to between 30 and 100 students during 250 days a year. Children and teens can participate in music and art programs, cooking classes, or simply spend time playing games with others.
Youngsters can also benefit from some of the Lighthouse's educational initiatives. The Lighthouse Learning Hour provides homework assistance to students for three hours per week. Teachers from the Oxford Area School District participate in this, currently assisting between 10 and 20 children per week.
Tyson explained that the Lighthouse also holds a College and Career Night each year for young people to meet with college and business representatives. Staffers and volunteers help the youngsters fill out college applications, job applications, or make visits to college campuses.
One of the core missions of the Lighthouse is to introduce young people to God. Bible studies are held on Tuesday afternoons, with an average of 25 youngsters between the ages of 9 and 12 and 20 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 participating in these activities.
The Lighthouse staff also coordinates special activities throughout the year. A Christmas program, for example includes a free meal, games, presents, and sharing of the story of Christmas.
The Lighthouse staff also takes youngsters on trips that are educational and recreational and even helps youngsters get to appointments to test for their driver’s permit or driver’s license.
Every weekday, the Lighthouse provides a free, nutritious meal to children. More than 300 different children benefit from this program each month. In the new youth center, there will be a full-service cafeteria instead of a snack bar, and there will be seating for 100 children. This will also increase the ability for the Lighthouse to provide food to families of youngsters in need.
Program director Doug Richner said that the Lighthouse is currently busy preparing for the annual Oxford Community Thanksgiving Service that is slated for Sunday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Bethany Presbyterian Church. Pie and ice cream will be available after the service. That event is for the benefit of the food pantries of both the Lighthouse Youth Center and the Oxford Neighborhood Services Center.
Tyson said that the construction of a new home is helping to promote the youth center’s activities to more people in the community.
“With our building project, more people are getting involved,” he said.
To purchase tickets or for more information about the event, call 484-880-2018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email email@example.com.