By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
The rejuvenated Richmond Teen Center will soon be celebrating a new chapter as it partners with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at noon Friday, Feb. 8, at the teen center, located at The Betty Miller Center, 325 N. Estill Ave.
In 2005, the Boys and Girls Club of America formed a teen center site of the newly constructed building. In 2008, the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation Department and Eastern Kentucky University formed a partnership to continue to provide services to youth in the community.
“Under the direction of Georgia Parks over the past two years, the teen center has gone from serving 15 to 20 registered students to having more than 50 (students) and serving 30 to 35 teens a day,” said Erin Moore, assistant director of Richmond’s parks and recreation department.
“It’s more than doubled since she’s been the director. We have contacts with different businesses, and we’re promoting this center as a positive place for kids in the community.”
The Teen Center’s mission is to provide after-school programming to youth between fifth and 12 grades to reduce the likelihood of delinquency in Richmond, Moore said.
“We wanted to get our name out there to different businesses and be able to network and let them know what we’re doing for the teens in our community,” Moore said. “I think this will be a really good step in showing the community all the positive changes we’ve made for the center.”
Parks has brought a variety of programming to the center, including finance classes inspired by New York Times Best Selling Author Dave Ramsey, a Black History Month public presentation, an educational presentation at the Louisville Zoo to teach the children about animals’ natural habitats and eco systems. The teens also have participated in many community service actives at nursing homes and several non-profit organization.
The teens have had speakers who come in and discuss many different issues including respect, etiquette classes, music, dance, dulcimers, drug and alcohol prevention, sign language and bullying.
“This Teen Center is a great place for Richmond teens to feel safe and secure, to play with their friends after school and to have an extended family to be with,” Moore said. “We are very proud of our facility and the support we have from the Richmond community.”
Ronica Shannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6608.