By Becky Maxedon
Tyanna Wilson has been in Lake Havasu City all her life – she says, “minus three months.”
She attended public and private schools and was home-schooled for high school.
That didn’t stop her from participating in high school cheer. She received her GED at 16 and went on to MCC at 17. She has since enrolled at Grand Canyon College to further her education.
“As I was attending community college, I was also developing my photography business that I still have today. I’ve grown up doing sports, going to Rotary for beach volleyball, boating with friends, paddle boarding, hanging out with friends at home and trying to find fun things to do,” she said.
“When I was beginning my photography career, I took photos of sports at the high school. I got a lot of senior photos from these and got to know a lot of the kids through that. Further, I was offered a position to coach high school cheer where I learned more about the youth in Havasu,” she said.
What she learned most was the kids lamenting that there was nothing for them to do in Lake Havasu.
“They want to do things other than going to parties, but all their friends are there.”
Wilson said she had a strong family connection with a lot of support and a circle of friends who were like minded when she was growing up. She said that while she was coaching, she learned that a lot of the local youth didn’t know basic life skills that she had learned from her family.
“That is what triggered the desire to start a youth center, to give youth somewhere that they can connect to other youth interested in the same things and have a safe environment to do things in,” Wilson said.
“The process for this project started about eight years ago. Since then, I have gathered information that has been invaluable to transforming Legacy into what it will be.”
Legacy is Wilson’s vision for a new youth center in Lake Havasu City. And the opportunity for people to help make Legacy a reality can participate in a fundraiser on July 22.
Thrift Shop Bash is at Calvary Baptist’s Sweetwater Campus. Doors for the event open at 5:30 p.m. There will dancing food, a DJ, games, a dance off, silly prizes and a “great giveaway at the end.”
“The main goal with this event is to give youth something fun and a last ‘hoorah’ before school starts back up. Although we don’t have a center yet, we know there are things that we can start doing in the community that is family and youth focused.”
Sponsorships for the event are available at $200 for 10 tables in the bash where youth could have the option to share that business on their social media story to be entered into the final giveaway.
“This is a way for us to thank the people who have chosen to sponsor the dance. Although the $2,000 we hope to raise on sponsor tables will exceed the cost of the event, we plan on using that for future (projected) costs of the youth center as they come up.”
Wilson said that while she was evaluating what Legacy should be and would make it so different, she thought about what impacted her upbringing and background.
“A certain aspect that really created the epitome of Legacy is, well, a Legacy. My grandma has been my rock for years and has taught me that I can do anything, it’s just a matter of learning. She took it on herself to teach me so many things that she knows whether it’s baking, checking my car, or doing things with electrical work. Her and my mom are both essential in how prepared I was entering adulthood.”
Wilson speaks fondly of a mentor who helped her when she started her passion for photography.
“When I started my photography, I was also blessed with a man from my church who was happy to teach me lighting with flash and more as he was a professional photographer.”
She said that as she reflected on that, “I thought about what youth could receive in going to a youth center. I thought about how they can pursue their passion and pick up different things along the way.”
Wilson said Legacy will be a place where youth can “create a legacy” and where adults can “leave a legacy.”
“Our plan is to have a building where youth in junior high and high school can hang out, play pool, draw, paint, learn an instrument, read a book, perform on a stage, do an activity, etc. but it goes further than that,” she said.
“We want youth to pursue whatever is special to them and learn how serving their community with their talent can help them feel confident in their identity.”
She hopes to involve businesses and others in the community to create and offer workshops and various subjects on any variety of skills – car repair, woodwork, paint, play guitar or another musical instrument – the possibilities are endless.
“Alternatively, we are also looking for people who want to do a workshop on finances, basic cooking, sewing, etc., to give youth life hacks for when they go on to college. This will hopefully help youth feel confident in transitioning into adulthood.”
She also envisions being able to host events and programs where youth can showcase their creation, music, and more.
In the future, we hope to have a coffee shop integrated into the building for youth to sit in and do homework, especially as it gets close to midterms and finals, and that can be open to the public. The funds from this would go directly to Legacy and be an extra way that the community could support the youth. This might not happen for a while but will be important in finding a building for the youth center.
Cost estimates for the youth center are separated between what it will cost to run without a building, what it will cost to have a building, and those even vary depending on what kind of real estate is available and its size. “We aspire to have a large facility that can have many areas in it for activity and hanging out. These goals can get up to about $10,000 depending on what opportunities open.”
She said achieving these goals will depend on what the community is able to give in support monetarily or with talents and what kind of grants we can find once we find a grant writer.”
She said goals are going to be in sections at this point as sponsors and grants are gained.
Future events and workshops to help kids will follow as sponsors, grants and donations are received.
If you have a high school student that would like to attend the Thrift Shop Bash, visit
https://legacyyc.org/thrift-shop-sign-up/ to register. If you would like to volunteer at the event, you may use the same link.
For more information about involvement with Legacy should email email@example.com, or call 928-846-5090.
You can also find Legacy on Instagram @legacy.yc and TikTok @legacy.youth.