Youth center ready for business

Published on Thu, Oct 18, 2001
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Youth center ready for business

Before Friday’s football game, the community is invited to The Blender youth center on Peace Portal Drive for a ribbon cutting to commemorate the center’s official opening. “We’re going to be barbecuing some hot dogs so people can have a bite to eat before the game,” said Blender manager Ken Martin. “There will be tours of the center and a ribbon cutting, a time to thank the people who made this possible.” The center’s table games, ping pong, pool and foosball, will also be available and music will be provided by local band the Soul Plumbers. After the game Friday ,the Blender will really get rolling as a hangout for local teens, with a pizza party. “It’s going to be open for the kids to drop in, if they want to dance, play games or just hang out,” Martin said.

The Blender, a project of the Whole Town Team, was born of a 1999 survey of high school students, 94 percent of which said they would use a youth center. Community fundraising has paid the cost to renovate the old Red Apple building, donated by Brown and Cole Stores to house the center. Martin said the idea behind the center is for local teens to connect, mentor and serve each other and the community. “We want to get kids together in a safe environment where they can be encouraged and have positive input,” he said.

The Blender will start out as a drop-in center for local teens and will grow as organizers get a better idea of what local youth want. Community service and mentoring programs are two options being considered. “We’ll start adding things as kids show interest,” Martin said. Except for a daily closure for family dinner time from 5 to 7 p.m. the Blender will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight and Saturday from noon to midnight.