HIGH POINT, N.C. – A fresh coat of paint, computers, new table top games and furniture fill a room inside the Carl Chavis YMCA.
Before the makeover, the teen center struggled to get the attention of kids because of outdated technology.
So, when the High Point Community Foundation offered a $17,000 grant, Carlvena Foster, vice president of district operations, knew exactly what had to be done.
“We needed to upgrade everything that we had electronically, but we needed a place for them to do their homework, to enjoy time with friends, because I’ve learned that teens are really looking for structure. They want to be in what they consider to be a very safe environment. That’s what we wanted to be able to provide, a safe environment where they could socialize with their friends but do productive work. We have MAC computers where they can do homework, where they could go on the internet, but they also like to play games and just relax and be themselves with their peers,” Foster said.
16-year-old Mikayla Washington, a junior at Ragsdale High School, does a lot of her school work on computers at the center. She also says it is a great place to make friends.
“You could become more social like, because just things that people know that you don’t know. And they could end up helping you. You could just build a friendship because I’ve built friendships that way,” according to Mikayla.
The center also brings in guests to do music, creative writing and arts and crafts with the kids.
It is available to teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 and is open after school when classes are in session and throughout the summer.
The YMCA is also offering free summer membership at three locations to people between the ages of 13 and 17.