By Carol Stiffler

Kristina Duflo is in her first week as Coordinator of the Luce County LINK, taking over after the retirement of longtime coordinator Mary Archambeau.

The LINK is a multi-faceted thing that can be hard to describe. It’s at once a safe zone for youth, a food pantry for the community, and a community center.

“It’s pretty much a hub,” Duflo said.

Duflo, the wife of Living Waters Assembly of God Pastor Jim Duflo, had previously worked for six years at Tahqua Tots in Newberry. After she was laid off for months during the COVID pandemic – her three-year-old class had basically dissolved – she chose not to return.

Taking on the giant job at the LINK, a position that was basically created by the heart and desire of Archambeau, is a major task. Duflo approached the idea prayerfully and said she felt led to the position.

She’s taking it in now, wanting to be true to the intentions of Archambeau while organizing and streamlining the organization so she can best handle it. It’s a kind place, and she is intent on keeping it that way.

The youth board will still meet there every Tuesday. The Tahquamenon Area Senior Citizens Center board will meet every other week. Feeding America will still run a community distribution through the center once a month – the next date is February 25. Goodfellows will still headquarter their Christmas efforts there. And there’s more, always more to the LINK.

Duflo and her husband raised two daughters here and have long had a focus on the area’s youth. Duflo also directs the local chapter of Truth in Nature, which gets young people outside while teaching character and important life lessons.

“We love kids,” she said.

Duflo is pleased that there are some local youth – about ten, she said – who feel at home at the LINK. “Maybe that’s because of Mary,” she said. “I hope they give me a chance and get to know me as well.”

Duflo asks people to be patient with her as she learns the ropes – and there are many of them – of the LINK. As she does, she will bring in some new ideas, a new network of connections, and will try to attract more youth to the building.

You can reach Kristina at the LINK at (906) 293-3729, or on the LINK cell phone at (906) 291-1604.