SC Teen Center could be summer reality

It has taken patience and has been a learning process opening something of this magnitude but Shady Cove School Principal Tiffany O’Donnell assures the community the Teen Center will open this summer. The center located at the old paint store is still being remodeled although much has already been done and many donations have come in.
   
 

Several unexpected requirements are a second handicapped bathroom, a
$2,715 asbestos inspection and a fire alarm system. The county showed
restraint but some basic things are needed, explained O’Donnell.
   
The
anonymous donor responsible for the $12 a-year lease of the building,
utilities, maintenance and other funding for materials and personnel is
still fully supportive of this project, said O’Donnell, who has felt
the need for a youth center since she began working in Shady Cove three
years ago.
   
O’Donnell anticipates the Boys and Girls Club
will be involved in the center but is not yet sure what their role will
be. Their involvement offers health and life skills classes, character
and leadership development, field trips and guest speakers. O’Donnell
feels the guest speakers will enrich the whole community.
   
School
District 9 will also be a partner providing "many strong ties between
the school and the center." The goal is to provide a place where youth
can have fun and learn with supervision while building character. "I
have a high-level of expectation of safe, respectful and responsible
behavior," said an enthusiastic O’Donnell.
   
Teens of today
feel there is a stigma of suspicion directed towards them. They feel
they are not trusted and O’Donnell is hoping the center will give
senior citizens and youth a better understanding of one another. "We
should know and care about each other (in the community) and be known
and cared about," said O’Donnell.
   
The focus of the center
is on older youth from 11-years on up, the legal age when parents can
leave children. It is not a day care, stressed O’Donnell. The center
will benefit children that do not need supervision but who will benefit
from it. Drop ins will be accepted.
   
The leadership class in
middle school has been involved from the beginning and continues to be
actively involved under the guidance of teacher Colleen Callan, said
O’Donnell. Two of the students shared their vision for the teen center
with the city council at a recent meeting.
   
Community
donations are important to the center, said O’Donnell. Donations
include a new 52-inch flat screen HD TV from Velma and Richard Ballard;
a pool table from Police Chief Rick Mendenhall; and two couches and
chairs, a desk and tables, three computers, two printers and various
other items from Jack and Sally Stout. Other donations from the
community include games such as air hockey, foosball and ping-pong, two
rock tumblers, a video camera and office equipment.
   
Residents
are also donating services. Eagle Point resident Dave Pritchett will
teach karate; retired psychologist John Burgess will run a discussion
group for teens to air their concerns; and former City Councilor Lois
Holland will teach life skills such as sewing on a button or cooking
nutritious snacks. Community members are encouraged to offer their
expertise, said O’Donnell.
   
While O’Donnell is more than
grateful for these donations, the center also needs monetary donations
for items such as the asbestos inspection; the security system with an
estimated cost of $3,285; and keeping the center open. The Upper Rogue
Action Team was the first to commit with a $6,000 yearly contribution.
Team President Bill Sisson has worked right alongside O’Donnell from
day one.
   
O’Donnell sees the Teen Center as a way for youth
to connect with the community. When she came here three years ago, she
saw that kids and young adults had nothing to do. "I related to that
after growing up in the small town of Butte Falls," she said. "I want
something for them that is positive- where they can learn something new
and have fun too." For more information call O’Donnell at 878-1400.
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent   
       

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