Lonnie Westerfield has massive plans for a section of an anchor business building in Davenport’s Hilltop Campus Village (HCV). That building at 1600 N. Harrison St. just became home to Celebrity’s Beauty Supply Wig & Accessories and is owned by Mr. Westerfield and his wife Constance Westerfield. While another section of the once vacant storefront […]
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Lonnie Westerfield has massive plans for a section of an anchor business building in Davenport’s Hilltop Campus Village (HCV).
That building at 1600 N. Harrison St. just became home to Celebrity’s Beauty Supply Wig & Accessories and is owned by Mr. Westerfield and his wife Constance Westerfield. While another section of the once vacant storefront is currently empty, it won’t be for long.
Mr. Westerfield takes great delight in telling how the former Greatest Grains will soon get new life and become the “cause of all causes.” He hopes it will transform the lives of many young people in the Quad Cities region by teaching them lessons in basic finances.
“This is going to be a situation where everybody wins,” Mr. Westerfield said about the upcoming Lonnie Rays Academy Youth Center.
The center, which could be up and running in late April or early May, will provide financial literacy lessons to young people in the neighborhood and beyond. The youth center’s goal will be to give kids lessons on banking, getting loans, creating a business plan, what it takes to buy a home, spending money wisely and knowing the importance of a credit rating.
“I was in my 40s before I knew about credit ratings… This will really help them,” Mr. Westerfield said.
Constance Westerfield said she is looking forward to the youth center opening and providing some valuable lessons to youngsters. One of the most important of those lessons will be spending money wisely.
“There are things people want, and things they need. And that’s going to be the key – being aware of this,” she added.
Molly Otting Carlson, HCV’s executive director, said kids getting such fiscal experience is crucial in helping themselves, their families and the neighborhood.
“Real life experience to help kids succeed in a local, state and global economy is crucial. Lack of personal finance education can be devastating to a household, neighborhood or community,” Ms. Otting Carslon added. “It seems cliche, but when you know better, you do better.”
Mr. Westerfield doesn’t know how many kids will be involved in the youth center financial program, but he hopes to help as many as possible.
Giving young people some lessons on money management will be just a part of the equation for the new youth center. Another big goal behind Lonnie Rays is giving kids positive role models and lessons for life.
“We’ve got to get to them while they’re young… Give kids a better outlet. Give them a release to be out here instead of being behind bars,” he added.
The future youth center will be just the latest effort by the couple to help kids. Last year, the Westerfields bought the old Hickman Community Center at 815 9th St., Rock Island, and turned it into a youth center to help young people in the community. That center is now home to Lonnie Rays Elite Basketball Academy. It gives kids a place to play basketball, and also provides life skills on nutrition and personal finance.
The ultimate goal for the youth centers, Mr. Westerfield said, is giving kids hope.
“We give them hope. We keep inspiring them to do good things,” he added.