Ryves Youth Center bids farewell to longtime program director

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – The Ryves Youth Center has bid farewell to the facilities by first and only program director Jim Edwards.

Edwards’ time at the Ryves Youth Center began in 1982 and impacted the lives of young people for over 40 years.

Ryves hosted a going away celebration in Edwards’ honor as he capped off a 40-year run as program director. Many people whose lives have been touched by Edwards were in attendance.

Edwards said the center has had a positive impact on Terre Haute.

“It’s gratifying to know that we’re making a positive change in the community,” Edwards said.

During his farewell ceremony, Edwards said he was delighted to reunite with familiar faces.

“A lot of people have come in and told us about their childhood memories, and that’s kind of a nice feeling,” Edwards said.

Many who passed by Ryves called him home, and those present at Edwards’ ceremony said he had played a key role in their lives.

“He means a lot and he impacted my life,” said David Rerdin. “I’ve been here 13 years so I’ve known him a long time.”

“He kept me sober in my life and helped me when I needed it,” said Paul Grinstead.

“I don’t think you can put the impact he had on the center into words,” said Jim Pinkstaff. “He’s been here for 40 years, so he’s touched the lives of a lot of kids.”

Grinstead and Rerdin said Edwards was more than just a program director.

“He’s a really good guy and he’s like a father to me,” Grinstead said.

“He was there when I needed him the most, so he’s like a dad.” said Redin.

Edwards shared at the ceremony how the youth center led him to be one of the most important people in his life today.

“I met my wife when she came to volunteer here and that was in 1983,” Edwards said. “The kids convinced me to ask her out and later convinced me to marry her.”

Although he is no longer a manager, Edwards said he will still play a small role at center.

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