Megan Howell is one of nearly 500 teens who has a free membership with the YMCA of High Point.
"It’s a good place to meet new people and stay out of trouble,” the rising 10th grader said.
Most of the teens who have the free memberships at the Carl Chavis Branch come every day. Basketball is a huge draw, but teens also have supervised access to workout equipment, the teen center and more.
“It`s like a home away from home,” said Carlvena Foster who oversees the Carl Chavis Branch. “The same things they do at home, they can do it here, but they`re meeting friends. We`re exposing them to new opportunities. We do field trips, and speakers come in to talk about different life skill areas.”
The program started last summer after a number of conversations with the community.
“To me, our job as a Y is to serve those in the community and find those critical needs,” said Lymm Lomax, president and CEO of High Point YMCA. “Not try to be all things to all people, but try to find a couple things we can do and do well and then serve the community in that way”
And according to Lomax, the free teen membership program has been a huge hit since launching last summer.
“We were anticipating and really hoping quite honestly we`d have 200 participants, but we had 200 after the first week” Lomax said. “After the first month, we were over 300 and at the end of the summer we had over 400 teenagers in our program.”
And thanks to a grant from the High Point Community Foundation, the free teen membership program is now offered year round!
“Parents want peace of mind," Foster said. “They want to know that their children are being supervised in a safe environment and with some meaningful activities.”