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Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Linda Banister

VENICE, Fla. -- Linda Banister is this week's Amazing Woman. She helped bored Venice young people come up with an idea, and turn it into an exciting reality.

And that amazing creation has helped thousands of teens and college kids over the years.

When Linda moved to Venice in 2001, her 18-year-old son complained there was nothing for young people to do. "He made some friends and they started hanging out here because they thought there wasn't anything to do."

More and more kids showed up, and soon Linda had some 30 high school and college age kids at hanging out at her house.

They needed a bigger facility. "Shortly after, there was a business person and a pastor who offered us a building; just a store to give these young people something to do and some place to do it."

The kids dubbed the building The Warehouse, and they set about transforming it. "We had a ping pong table donated, juice, coffee…they basically just had a safe place to go and chat."

They built a stage for concerts, and gathered up games.

They no longer have the building, but they still call themselves The Warehouse, and they're still going strong. They use Facebook to communicate. They meet every 2nd Saturday, and lots of times in between.

"A lot of them are at the Venice YMCA in the gym; we play volleyball, dodgeball, soccer…they have a huge court. They can do basketball with the games setting up."

They also do a lot of community service projects. "Last year on Make a Difference Day we painted a house."

They hold a lot of music events, often at the gazebo in downtown Venice.

Linda's kids are grown and gone now, but she continues to lead The Warehouse. "We just want them to know they are important to the community. There are things to do to give them a positive outlook. We are concentrating on steering them to a more positive route than they were choosing."

The Warehouse group is also a part of the Drug Free Youth program run by Venice Police.

And the life lesson Linda wants to share with these young people? "We want them to know they are amazing. They just need to jump out and try."


If you know someone you'd like to nominate as an Amazing Woman of the Suncoast, just email her name and the information about her to amazingwomen@mysuncoast.com.