Straube Center in the News

PENNINGTON: Teen center finally finds a home

Thursday, September 23, 2010 11:40 AM EDT
By John Tredrea, Staff Writer
   

Thanks to the Hopewell Valley YMCA, a great deal of intensive effort to form a teen center for Hopewell Valley has paid off.

   After four years of research, surveys and community presentations, the Hopewell Township Youth Advisory Board has finally found a place for the teen center, or Youth Activity Center.

   The Hopewell Valley YMCA has offered space to the teens in its office building located at 62 S. Main St., in Pennington Borough, said Kim Bruno, a township resident who mentors Hopewell Township’s Youth Advisory Board.

   The board was created several years ago to advise township government on matters pertaining to young people.

   ”We are excited to have a place for teens to gather and we appreciate the YMCA helping us,” said YAB member Natalie Santos.   ”This location fits perfectly with the requirements expressed in the student survey we conducted,” said Nicole Pashley, also a YAB member. “Most of our peers said they were interested in a location that was walking distance from school and this location is about a 15-minute walk from both the high school and Timberlane.”

   Originally the teens looked at a property located on West Franklin Avenue in Pennington. However, the cost to renovate that building was higher than originally anticipated, Ms. Bruno said. “The advantage of using the YMCA space is we have little renovation and set-up costs to open the doors,” she added.

   ”The plan is to engage teens and adults in cleaning and painting the inside and using fundraising to equip the location. Our goal is to have the center up and running by the end of this year,” Ms. Bruno noted.

   The YAB also has been working with the Hopewell Valley Senior Citizen Advisory Board on sharing the space. The discussions continue with the use of this new site.

   The teens have been fundraising for the teen center for the last year. They have raised over $65,000 to be used for salaries, operating costs, and furniture and facility equipment. Part of the funds came from a grant from The Straube Foundation to establish a Learning Center. The Learning Center will provide additional educational classes and opportunities; such as SAT Prep, money management and career preparation. Some classes have already started.

   ”We wanted to begin offering programs even while we were waiting for a permanent location,” said Ms. Bruno. “The Straube Foundation has been a wonderful partner is assisting us with offering a SAT Prep class and a robotics class over the summer,” she added.

   The YAB is hosting a community mini-golf outing at Pine Creek Miniature Golf in October as a fundraiser for the Youth Activity Center. It will be held on Oct. 10 from noon-4 p.m. It is open to the entire Hopewell Valley community, young and older.

   ”It’s a great afternoon activity for families as well as for teens to spend with their friends,” said Kelly MacDonald, YAB member.

   In addition to attending the event, businesses and individuals can support the event by sponsoring a golf hole. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Ms. Bruno at 737-0918 or kmbruno@aol.com.

   Many people did not believe this project would become a reality. “This project is a possibility because the high school students are determined to see it through,” said Ms. Bruno. “I am constantly impressed with their optimism, dedication and enthusiasm for this project. The YAC will be a wonderful addition to the Hopewell Valley community.”

One Straube Center Blvd • Pennington, NJ 08534 • Phone: 609-737-3322 • E-mail:
Straube Center Boulevard surrounded by Route 31, West Franklin Ave., Knowles Ave.-Bixby’s Way, and Broemel Place