Teen Center brings structure to afternoons

%E2%80%9CThe+Teen+Center+is+really+fun.+It+is+a+really+great+place+for+homework+and+just+relaxing%2C%E2%80%9D+seventh+grader+Lily+DuWig+said.+With+her+friend+Jessica+Sparks%2C+DuWig+attended+the+open+house.+Relaxing+on+the+couch+and+being+able+to+chill+highlights+the+perks+of+the+Teen+Center.+%0A%0A
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Teen Center brings structure to afternoons

“The Teen Center is really fun. It is a really great place for homework and just relaxing,” seventh grader Lily DuWig said. With her friend Jessica Sparks, DuWig attended the open house. Relaxing on the couch and being able to chill highlights the perks of the Teen Center.

“The Teen Center is really fun. It is a really great place for homework and just relaxing,” seventh grader Lily DuWig said. With her friend Jessica Sparks, DuWig attended the open house. Relaxing on the couch and being able to chill highlights the perks of the Teen Center.

PHOTO CREDIT TYLER GIPSON

“The Teen Center is really fun. It is a really great place for homework and just relaxing,” seventh grader Lily DuWig said. With her friend Jessica Sparks, DuWig attended the open house. Relaxing on the couch and being able to chill highlights the perks of the Teen Center.

PHOTO CREDIT TYLER GIPSON

PHOTO CREDIT TYLER GIPSON

“The Teen Center is really fun. It is a really great place for homework and just relaxing,” seventh grader Lily DuWig said. With her friend Jessica Sparks, DuWig attended the open house. Relaxing on the couch and being able to chill highlights the perks of the Teen Center.

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Youth directors Samantha Young and Bonnie Davidson from Crossroads Community Church brought to life a safe place where teens can hang out, do homework and play sports and games called the Stockbridge Teen Center. Located in the Stockbridge Activity Center, formerly known as the middle school, offerings that teens may enjoy range from fun and games to homework and quiet spaces.

After school programs make a difference for young people according to the Harvard Family Research Project. Its study suggests that after school programs are good for teens and children because they can prevent risky behavior like alcohol, drugs and sex.  After school supervision can also be good for teen health and academics. 

“They are more sequenced with a set of activities designed. They are more active. They are more focused with developing personal or social skills,” according to the Harvard Family Research Project.

A local teen who involves himself in positive teen behavior supports agrees.

“I think that the teen center will help provide a safe and go to when [teens] want to get out of the house, or need help on homework, or want a safe place to hang out with friends,” sophomore SRSLY member Brenden Yannella said.

PHOTO CREDIT TYLER GIPSON
Participating in an activity that the Teen Center offers, Taylor Fletcher, Robin Lowe- Fletcher and Jaimi Chambless Hollister play a game of checkers. The Teen Center is open after school every day between the hours of 2:30 to 5:30.

Volunteers at the Teen Center want to provide a safe, fun environment for people in grades 6 through 12 where young people can engage with others in healthy ways. 

According to the Teen Center directors, providing an alternative to staying home alone or being on the streets after school are goals of theirs. They also want to provide an area where students can mentor and tutor other students. 

Children are not supposed to be left home younger than the age of 12 according to the Child Protection Law of Michigan as a recommendation, but not a law. 

“It is determined on a case-by-case basis, but the state explains that this is a general rule; a child 10 years old and younger is not responsible enough to be left home alone,” as reported in Working Mother. 

While there is no specific law, the Michigan law recommends that families determine the child’s maturity rate asking questions like, “Is your child physically and mentally able to care for him- or herself? Does your child obey rules and make good decisions? Does your child feel comfortable or fearful about being home alone?”

When young people respond well to staying home, they may also enjoy having an option to be around friends.

“I think it is really good, There’s a lot of times we’ve got younger kids especially around after school with nothing to do,” counselor Leslie Cummings said. “I think having a structured place where there are structured activities and people there is a really good thing.” 

Administrative staff even approve of this after school hangout. 

“I am going to highly encourage students to utilize the Teen Center as much as I can,” principal Jeffrey Trapp said. “I think the Teen Center will be a good place for teens to interact and do homework.”

Young and Davidson’s dream for the Teen Center has been to provide a place where students can feel safe and cared for, a place where they can have fun, learn life skills and interact with others. 

“The Teen Center sounds like a lot of fun, and I am interested to see what it will be like,” sophomore Shailynn Walker said, who plans to check it out sometime. 

The Teen Center is located in room 111 at the 305 West Elizabeth Street. 

“I think the first week or so will be tough, but once more kids learn about all the provided activities, I think that a lot of people would start to come on a regular basis,” Yannella said.

PHOTO CREDIT TYLER GIPSON
Looking back at the generation before them for entertainment, air hockey and Foosball are the rave. While playing air hockey, teens have conversations with peers at the Teen Center open house.

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