Opinion

Something for teens

When the school day ends in Bremerton, teens will soon have somewhere new to go.

The Bremerton Teen Center had its official open house last week and is set to open to youth on Nov. 1. The center will have after-hours programs and activities available to students weekdays through 7 p.m. Friday teen nights are planned as well as summertime activities.

Having a safe and fun place for kids to go after school is an important aspect of parenting today because, in many families, both spouses work and there’s limited places for the kids to go after school.

The Bremerton Youth Wellness Campus, at the site of the old Bremerton Junior High and East High School, is a work in progress and there are plans to demolish the old junior high, leaving the existing gymnasium for youth sports activities.

There also are plans for an outdoor open-air music pavilion and other green spaces for the kids to enjoy.

At the other end of the seven-acre campus, the Bremerton School District will soon build a new centralized kitchen, which is estimated to cost $4 million and will be covered through a tax levy passed last year.

With the hard work of its supporters, the campus has a $1 million grant from the C. Keith Birkenfield Memorial Trust. The goal is $16 million to cover all costs. The first seed money — a pledge of $1 million — came from Silverdale Realtor Jerry Reid and his wife Nancy.

Already operating in the wellness portion of the campus is the Lindquist low-cost dental clinic, another service supporting youth.

The $3.5 million center also houses the new teen center operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

When the doors open, the teen center is expecting about 100 students per day for activities ranging from games, arts and crafts, service projects and of course, an area where laptops are available so these middle-school and high-school students can study.

Complaints are sometimes heard about young people getting into trouble after school because they have nothing else to do and nowhere else to go.

They are seen hanging out at the corner convenience store or walking downtown.

The teen center is a great way of letting our youth know we support them and we believe in them. We’re giving them a good choice and the opportunity to spend their after-school time wisely.

The project is a great combination of private and public dollars.

If you haven’t toured the center, go see it. If you haven’t donated to it, do so.

And if you’ve got some spare time, volunteer to be there with these young people who are looking for good role models.

The teen center and the entire campus is a great example of the community pulling together and making a difference for its youth.

 

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