Teen center: Opening soon

November, 2018 Posted in Community, People

By Mary Owen

The Santiam Teen Center in its park-like setting on Kindle Way, is looking for volunteers in preparation for opening.

“We anticipate service (to) 30 youth per day by offering classes, food, training, homework mentoring and mental health support,” said Joanie Wigginton, the center’s interim executive director.

“We will be open specifically during the school year for after school support and resources. This will provide our teens with 180 days of community outreach and support.”

The center will need a large group of volunteers who – once skills and background checks are complete – will assist in teaching teens life skills, support growth of educational and mental health, and provide stable afternoon environment within the community, Wigginton said.

The Santiam Teen Center is a nonprofit entity under the umbrella of New Growth Ministries, an organization established in Stayton in 2011. Funding for the program targeting teens ages 13 to 18, comes from grant support and, Wigginton said, “amazing support from the community in both time and in-kind donations.”

“We want our teen center to be a home away from home,” organizers said. “Somewhere they will feel safe, comfortable and welcomed.”

Wigginton anticipates most participants to come from the local high schools, but teens that come from outside of the city limits will not be turned away.

“Building a teen center was always a dream of New Growth Ministries, and earlier this year the city of Stayton offered us the amazing support of a building and space to make this dream a reality,” Wigginton said.

New Growth primarily serves at-risk youth within a 20-mile radius of Stayton. The majority of clients fall within the North Santiam School District’s 14,305 residents, with 16.4 percent falling below poverty guidelines.

“Once established, we will be looking to add middle school options and expanding services to other age groups,” Wigginton said.

The Santiam Teen Center, she said is “uniquely qualified” to succeed within in the area due to community and small business support such as Oregon Food Share (who will provide healthy snacks and meals), SAFE Families, North Santiam School District, the city of Stayton, the Stayton Police Department, along with small businesses and community support.

“We want to thank everyone for their continued efforts and support,” she said. “The community feedback is one of excitement and overwhelming support!”

The center plans to be open 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays, at 2800 Kindle Way, Stayton. For information or to volunteer, call 503-769-3536.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.