Wapato Community Center gets a Second Chance - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wapato Community Center gets a Second Chance

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WAPATO, Wash.--Once the school bell rings, kids will flood the halls of the Wapato Community Center.

"They all just kind of play together," said Breanna Austin, one of the office managers. "We don't really see any cliques."

"Every day they're here and their days they get out early that gives them an extra hour to be here," said Sofia Lopez, another office manager.

A handful of people are working hard to revive the Wapato Community Center and its family programs after it was temporarily shut down last year because of insufficient funds. Then just this month, the former director of Wapato Youth Athletics League was accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the non-profit shining a poor light on the center.

"The donors, they realize the difference and all that's pending stuff so it's just hard to tell the outcome," said Paul Coffman, the new Director of the Wapato Community Center. "We're separate, so we're new kids on the block and that was old news."

Coffman said they're completely different from WYAL, but they'll continue to support other local organizations that need to use the community center.

"Whether it's Wapato Youth Athletics League or a church activity or another community or the school, any community organization we can, we try to support," said Coffman.

The new managers all seem to agree that providing a place for families and kids to come together and be active is the most important thing they can do for their community.

"If we're not active, even as adults we get in trouble," said Coffman.

Saturday is the community centers first official fundraiser under new management. They're hosting a yard sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It's also a chance for your kids to sign up for summer activities while there's still spots available.

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