“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." If there is a place that successfully embodies those powerful words from Lady Bird Johnson, it is the LUMINA Center. As a well-known community member, this activity center in downtown Lewistown is proudly supported by the United Way of Mifflin Juniata. The LUMINA Center creates a dynamic atmosphere for its multiple children’s programs, including Rainbow Summer, Kids Cafe, Fun-In-The-Sun, Young Artists Summer Art Camp, SONshine Club, Drop-In and Power Pack Program.
Deborah Wilt, LUMINA’s Director since 2000, sees the firsthand impact of reaching local children. The kids engage in a variety of creative activities that are educational and healthy. Guest instructors teach on a wide range of subjects such as basic first aid, nutrition, and making good choices. They also exercise the body and the mind by participating in activities like reading, dodge ball, cooking, science projects, crafts, volleyball, and more. Ericka Reed (pictured above left), a Fun-In-The-Sun student, says she has loved learning about cooking and Bible stories. Courtney Kohler (pictured right) said swimming has been her favorite part of Fun-In-The-Sun.
Wilt has been working with the LUMINA Center for 13 years, and in that time she has seen a number of children start at a young age and continue the program all the way through high school. The direct influence of the their work is realized in its successful return rate. According to Wilt, many kids eventually serve as teen counselors at Rainbow Summer. She’s had former participants visit, often reciting a similar declaration—“if I hadn’t come to the LUMINA Center, I would have gotten into trouble.” In a generation fixated on video games and computers, the United Way is happy to invest in an agency that is teaching wellness and integrity to the future of our community.