Illusionist Krendl shows three teens a card trick. Krendl has opened a teen community center at 335 S. Main St. in Delphos. (DHI Media/Sam Shriver)
Illusionist Krendl shows three teens a card trick. Krendl has opened a teen community center at 335 S. Main St. in Delphos. (DHI Media/Sam Shriver)

DELPHOS — The illusionist Krendl, a Delphos native, is doing his part to give back to the community.

He’s started an after-school teen community center at the STAO at 335 S. Main St. in Delphos.

The center is open every Wednesday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and provides a variety of activities for the kids including academic support and programs aimed at fostering personal growth and development.

“I’m a very odd apple who grew up in this community and I know that there’s a lot of other odd apples out there and that’s what we’re hoping to embrace and encourage — to give them a voice, to give them an outlet,” Krendl said.

Krendl has set up a big screen monitor where kids can play video games. There’s also free pizza.

Right now they’re only open one day a week but that could change in the future.

“It really is just about support. Whether or not we get that support will determine what we can do moving forward. We’re still putting a lot of foundational building blocks in our situation so we’re crawling before we can walk. The goal is first to have this open on a more regular basis throughout the entire school year so it just becomes an after-school place for all teens to hang out wherever they feel like it,” Krendl said.

He’s hoping to organize a video game tournament by the end of April.

“We’ll pick a day like a Sunday or something. Kids can come. We’ll have food for them. We’ll do brackets and we’re even looking at either a gift or cash prize type giveaway to kind of incentivize the kids to come and hang out,” Krendl said.

During the summer the focus will switch just a bit.

“I’m going to be partnering with another nonprofit called Aiming High with Youth that’s run by Aimee Hickey. Between her and myself we’re going to try and put some workshops together. We’ll have educational things for the kids through these camps and workshops but it will be about finding funding for that in sponsorship dollars to help allow the kids to come and do this for free,” Krendl said.

He is also considering using the kids for community service-type projects.

“Both schools (Delphos Jefferson and Delphos St. John’s) have confirmed that they will allow the kids to count towards their credit hours and their service hours by going through our program,” Krendl said.

The teen community center officially opened on February 22 and there’s been a solid core of kids that come and hang out.

“It is still fresh and new. As kids participate in this we’re just going to go off of what they want and then keep expanding. We purposely wanted this to be loose and open-ended because we want the teens to ultimately cultivate what really goes on here,” Krendl said.

Krendl is thankful for the upbringing he had in Delphos and this is his way of giving back to the community.

“I felt like I have a chance here to make a difference versus in Virginia Beach or in LA. It’s hard to find your voice in that type of a population and because I have roots here in the community, I’ve already had an amazing life because of my career that was built. This is my opportunity to give back and that’s really my true belief as to why I’m here because I feel like I have a better chance at really creating something and becoming passionate here,” Krendl said.