2009-08-27 / News

Teen Center focuses on what kids need

By Samantha Emrich

Not every town offers its teens a safe environment for building friendships, doing homework or simply relaxing after school. But here in Jamestown, young islanders have a “place to call their own,” said Teen Center Coordinator Debbie Tungett.

The center offers many fun programs to its members, such as microwave cooking and a tile mosaic project, Tungett said.

“The cool thing about the teen center is it’s not completely structured,” Tungett said. “We like to come up with new ideas and create things as we go, which makes us unique.”

While the Teen Center is part of the parks and recreation department, its programs are all funded differently. The town pays for staffing at the center, but programs for the teens must be funded through alternative means.

“We get community members donating periodically and we do have fundraisers that sometimes generate some revenue and sometimes don’t,” Tungett said. “We run on private donations and fundraising.”

The costs to kids for programs is minimal, she said.

“To come after school, to hang out and participate there is no cost to kids,” Tungett said. “Occasionally, we’ll have a fee for service program.”

But, Tungett said, the center tries to provide free programs as much as possible.

“It’s helpful to parents to know your kids are doing something productive and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg,” she said.

Tungett said parents should know that the teen center is “always supervised and staffed by trained people.”

“All the staff have some college experience and have worked with this age group in the past,” she said. “We’re all about whatever the kids need.”

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