The La Crosse area family YMCA is ready to unveil their newly constructed community teen center tomorrow. Fox 25/48’s Erin O’Brien gives us a sneak peek of the new facility and tells us more about the decade-old program.
Fifteen year old Adam Scholze has been coming to the YMCA community teen center almost every day since the 8th grade.
“I think it’s because I get to hang out with a lot of other teens that are same age as I am, have more or less same interests that I do.”
He is one of 600 teenagers that visited over seven thousand times last year, and center director Lisa Luckey says the numbers have been growing since the new facility opened its doors in September.
“Our September is typically a slower time as kids are settling into school and it’s been busier than we’ve ever had in a September.”
For eleven years, the center has offered a safe space and free programming for kids in 8th to 12th grade. A therapist from Gundersen health system is also on hand two days of the week.
“They might come here to use computers. They might come here to get help with homework, to hang out and relax with friends after school. We have food available. They might come here to cook a meal or have a snack.”
The building was funded entirely by community donations. A new kitchen will offer a space for cooking lessons, and a sound-proof music room can be used as a recording studio.
Until now, the teen center had been operating out of a house 104 years old, which stood several feet behind where the new center stands. That house was demolished just last week.
“It had some maintenance issues that were difficult to keep up with and we were outgrowing the space.”
Their hope for the new, bigger building is that even more adults will come to work at the center and serve as role models to the teens. In La Crosse, Erin O’Brien, Fox 25 48 News at 9.
The YMCA is holding a public open house tomorrow evening from five to seven p.m, to give tours of the new teen center at 1105 King Street in La Crosse.