Teens work on projects at the Española YMCA Teen Center. Courtesy/Family YMCA
FAMILY YMCA News:
Española –The Española YMCA Teen Center is launching a middle school mock-government program thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation.
The grant is also supporting life-skills classes and tutoring.
“We’re in the process of finding the right person to engage the kids,” Teen Center Director Ben Sandoval said. “We have the kids, we have a model program, we just need a dynamic mentor to facilitate meetings once a week. We’re paying well, and it might be a great opportunity for a political science student to serve as a paid intern.”
Sandoval said the position could also be filled by any person with political, or government service experience, or teachers.
“We’re happy the Sumners Foundation considers us a worthy investment to teach about civic responsibility,” said Los Alamos Family YMCA Executive Director Linda Daly. “Responsibility is one of our core values. We welcome the opportunity to use one more tool to impress that upon our students.”
Daily said partial Sumners funding will also support current skill-building classes and tutoring.
“Our science, cooking and carpentry classes address several 21st century learning goals, especially active listening, communication, data analysis, technology and advanced literacy,” she said.
The Sumners Foundation, based in Dallas, encourages the study, teaching and research into self-government. It supports programs and activities that increase understanding by the public of individual freedom, civic and person responsibility.
In 2012, the Teen Center served 538 youth primarily in sixth through 10th grade. Tutoring in 2012 helped 114 kids improved their grades.
The Center also has helped numerous youth to obtain their GEDs. To date, the Center has directly intervened and helped 33 youth graduate who were on the verge of dropping out.
Three “founding” members at this Center dropped out of school several times in the last four years. Y staff worked with the kids, tutored them and found ways to get them back in school.
All the kids graduated in 2012. Today two are enrolled at a community college, and the third is attending a state university.
The Española YMCA Teen Center is open from 12-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and is available to all area teenagers. It has a recreational wing, classroom section and computer center. Staff members use mentoring to build supportive relationships with youth.
They also use skill building classes to engage youth, and programming and discussions to address teen pregnancy,substance abuse, alcoholism, and mental health issues.