In the community

New Ontario teen center designed to help area youth succeed

ONTARIO – A new teen center that will offer at-risk and homeless youth a range of services officially opened Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the site of the former Ontario Aquatic Center.

The center aims to serve youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with help in finding a job, homework assistance or getting a shower and some food.

The teen center, called Youth in Action, is the product of a $200,000 state grant to Ontario’s Community in Action.

During an open house for the center, Sandy Kendall, the organization’s youth coordinator, said the new center is part of a long-range plan to help youth succeed.

“Our whole thing is creating relationships ­– giving them an ally and teaching them how to advocate for themselves,” said Kendall.

The space for the teen center consists of an open area dotted with couches and chairs, lockers, an office, a shower, a big-screen TV and a small kitchenette.

For now, the center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Kendall said Community in Action would like the teen center to be open seven days a week.

“We don’t have the capacity for that right now,” she said.

The grant will cover two years of operating costs. Community in Action worked with the Ontario Recreation District to open the center. Kendall said the center will offer a place where homeless and at-risk youth know “someone is in their corner.”

“Most have never had someone in their corner,” said Kendall.

Sandy Kendall, youth coordinator for Community in Action, talks about the resources available at the new teen center at the Ontario Aquatic Center during an open house, Wednesday, Dec. 20. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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