Española YMCA Teen Center honored as Non-profit of the Year. Courtesy photo
ESPANOLA ― A group of youth, looking like EMTs, hands on the motor, hover around a motorcycle. They are in the Automotive Class at the Española YMCA Teen Center. Nearby, others move through Tae Kwon Do forms on the Center’s outdoor basketball court.
Con Alma’s Northern New Mexico Health Grant Group (NNMHGG) has awarded a $13,000 grant this year to the Española YMCA Teen Center in support of healthy activities for youth, mentoring support and connecting youth to health resources.
Y Executive Director Linda Daly said NNMHGG has shown a commitment to improving health outcomes for youth in northern New Mexico.
“Their partnership in support of youth continues to prove to an effective means of improving educational outcomes for youth, and thus positively affecting their health outcomes,” Daly said.
Teen Center Director Ben Sandoval said local commitment is key for supporting area youth. Sandoval also said the Center was named the Non Profit of the Year by the Española Chamber of Commerce this year, and along with this funding, makes the staff and kids feel valued.
“This funding will help us support education through tutoring, and let us provide intervention and prevention, and health programs for valley youth. This allows us to continue building positive relationships with the youth, wherein we can try and influence their choices,” he said.
The Center’s services are delivered through skill-building educational programs, Sandoval said, including discussions, and connecting youth to health services, and through delivery of community service activities based at the Center. The Teen Center is a located in a 3,100 square foot facility and has a technology wing including 20 computers, a classroom/lesson wing, a recreational/game area, and an outdoor recreation court. The Center is open 12-8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Center programming is developed with the intent of fostering a sense of accomplishment and hope in the teens, to help them understand their relevance, and the positive impact they have in a community– to enhance their self-efficacy. This is one way to increase the health and overall social well-being of area youth.
In 2016, the Teen Center served 601 youth. Since opening in 2007, the Center has directly intervened and helped 54 youth graduate who were on the verge of dropping out, and supported the educational goals of 192 youth who self-reported that it was the Teen Center that helped them reach grade levels or re-engage in school.