Bethesda News

Life and Legacy

A Note From Our Executive Director

You may have heard our “House of Mercy” describe what has been taking place up on The Hill, at 15th and Herr, as a legacy: a project worthy of that title. It is a collaborative undertaking that has been carefully planned to achieve a particular aim, passing along something of value from generation to generation. You may be asking yourself, what kind of legacy has been passed on to the children, teens, and families at 15th and Herr in Harrisburg?

In 1990, the Shamrock Fire Station was taken over by Bethesda Mission, and converted into a Youth Center. Since then, it has been reaching a generation of hundreds of at-risk children, teens, and families for thirty years. The purchase of this fire station was the start of an extensive legacy, its destined magnitude unbeknownst to those who signed the check. Bethesda filled a building with students, nurtured and mentored with love  and the Good News of who Jesus is, fireproofing these impressionable young minds and hearts to succeed and cope with life’s challenges. We are now reaping the benefits tenfold.

For several years we had been peering from tine second story of the old fire station, praying and wondering if God’s plan would open the doors someday for Bethesda to have tine adjacent printing company property. In 2015, the owner unexpectedly told us he was retiring from the printing business, and asked if we would like to purchase the property. Six months later, the takeover continued, and we obtained the nine thousand squ are foot buildi ng with over half an acne of outdoor space. The legacy that began thirty hears ago has expanded with a beautiful renovation completed in 2019, creating a gym, teen center, computer lab, outdoor play area, and parking lot. What remains is the demolition of the old fire station and raising of a new two- story structure which will continue elementary and middle school programming, new programs for adults and seniors, and an improved kitchen space. This new structure will include an authentic replication of the front facade of the old fire station, breathing new life into the hallowed grounds of the beloved Youth Center.

Every school day, our kids a re involved in afterschool programs for three hours of unwinding with fun, wholesome activities that help with homework/learning, where Christ’s love is shared intangible ways. During the summer, we hold a ten-week program that engages kids to experience creative and fun activities, building upon positive relationships with loving, dedicated adults. I want to introduce you to a remarkable student and his mother who have been closely impacted by the work of Bethesda over the past sixteen years.

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