Concept art for Pro Deo Youth Center at The Wesley Place. (Design by Collins I Webb Architecture)

November 4, 2023

By Robin Blakely

Pro Deo Youth Center has unveiled early plans for The Wesley Place, a visionary center that promises beautiful and highly functional space for teens in Lee’s Summit and across Eastern Jackson County.

With a goal of raising $4.9 million specifically for the new building, Pro Deo has already reached an astounding 27% of the target goal before the capital campaign officially begins. The $1.37 Million was raised with help from the City of Lee’s Summit to secure a $685,000 Community Revitalization grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development in June 2023 , and a matching donation of $685,000 from Lee’s Summit residents Bob and Jane Rutherford.

Dr. Elaine Metcalf, the Executive Director of Pro Deo Youth Center, stressed the importance of community involvement to make the capital campaign successful. “We are blessed by a community who cares about teens. At our campaign kick-off we explained that Pro Deo has two pockets of simultaneous need. One pocket is about funding the yearly operation costs that provide the direct program services to our teens year in and year out. The other funding pocket is new to us all, and it is focused exclusively on the construction costs of the new building so that we can make The Wesley Place a reality at 902 SE Douglas.”

Dr. Metcalf explained that Program Operations support teen activities that include creative arts, personal and social wellbeing, sports and health, college, career / job skills, as well as academic, STEM, and service learning. Costs also include supplies, transportation, insurance, supervision, and administration. Separate from Program Operations, Building Construction is focused entirely on the 7,000 sq foot new building.

Andy Campbell, Pro Deo Youth Center Board President, said, “The architects (Collins I Webb Architecture) have listened to the wants and needs of students, staff and community and created a beautiful and highly functional space that will be great for all who utilize it. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Pro Deo and what we will be able to provide the youth of the Lee’s Summit community with this new building.”

Kent Ruehter, Chair of New Building Committee for Pro Deo Youth Center, “Whether a student is there to receive tutoring, counseling, learn new life skills, create new art, or just hang out with friends, It is a space where the students can feel safe, but the flexibility of the design truly allows them to make it their own. I cannot wait to see this dream become a reality.”

According to Dr. Metcalf, “Pro Deo Youth Center at the Wesley Place will impact youth for generations to come. The Wesley Place is named after Jane and Bob Rutherford’s son, Wesley. The Rutherfords feel strongly that Wesley would have really found a place to “fit in” at Pro Deo, had it been available when he was a teen. Pro Deo is a place where all teens can feel loved and supported and know that they really matter.”

To find out more about Wesley, the new building named after him, Pro Deo’s capital campaign, and how to support teens in the Lee’s Summit area, visit