SHERIDAN — A KidsLife van was broken into last week, temporarily leaving the local nonprofit without one means of transportation.

Keegan Jenness, KidsLife program coordinator, had just finished cleaning one of the two vans KidsLife uses to help transport children to and from activities the program hosts. The second van was parked near The Hub on Smith and Jenness was on his way to get the second van ready for the next activity. Jenness said when he opened the driver’s side door he saw pieces of the dashboard on the floor.

Courtesy Photo — Jessie Zebroski |
Wires were pulled out of their covering and it looked like someone tried to hot-wire the KidsLife van.

Wires were exposed and some of them were stripped from the ignition. Jenness said he did not understand what was going on at first, but then realized that someone had gotten into the van and attempted to steal it. The van could not be driven and KidsLife had to have it towed to a body shop to be repaired. Co-president of the KidsLife board of directors Jessie Zebroski said they did not know how expensive the damage is yet and they hope the van will be operational within a week.

Jenness said KidsLife stores equipment for activities in the van such as basketballs and hula-hoops. None of the equipment was stolen. The only other item disturbed in the van was the first-aid kit. The case remains under investigation with law enforcement.

Jenness said the sliding door on the van has had trouble locking properly in the past and believes that is how the person gained entry into the van.

Jenness said being down one van has not affected KidsLife’s routine. The next activities that KidsLife have planned are in town. This means less demand of children needing to be picked up or dropped off for the events. The activities that could possibly be affected are the trips that take place out of town. Hopefully, the van is fixed before the next out-of-town event, Jenness said.

Zebroski said KidsLife will transport its students to “In His Wake” ministry next week. This event brings in a ministry group that will take participants out to a lake to have fun and have a devotional ministry session. This is usually one of the biggest events of the summer, Zebroski said. She hopes the second van can be fixed so that it can be utilized.

KidsLife will need both vans operational as they continue to expand their programs across Sheridan County. KidsLife currently has programs in Ranchester, Dayton and Big Horn. KidsLife will assist in transporting students from these communities into Sheridan for big events.

KidsLife will open its new facility, The Klubhaus,  at the end of August or beginning of September. The Klubhaus will be located near the YMCA on West Alger Street.  Zebroski said they are trying to open the facility with the start of school. The Klubhaus will be offered as a place for junior high school students to hang out for two or three hours after school. This will give students a safe place to hang out while they wait for parents.

Zebroski said this would not be a time for ministry but a place for kids to be themselves and the program would be offered for as cheap as possible so that anyone could attend.

KidsLife broke away from the national organization K-Life about two years ago. K-Life’s headquarters are located in Missouri and Zebroski said it was a mutual decision that Kidslife would create its own organization.

KidsLife was able to create programming and events that matched Wyoming’s culture better. Now that they are their own organization, KidsLife has been able to address the needs of Sheridan and the surrounding communities with custom programming.