2013-04-25 / Letters to the Editor

Jamestown is lucky to have teen center

On April 21 at Central Baptist Church, Molly Conlon and Jill Goldstein presented an adult forum on the Jamestown Teen Center. Adult forums are offered at the church once or twice a month from 11 a.m. to noon during the school year. They are advertised in advance and open to the public.

Attendees learned about the town’s eight-year-old program that serves Jamestown’s sevenththrough 12th graders, as well as welcoming teens from North Kingstown and Newport. There is no charge, though participation requires registration.

Attendees were treated to a PowerPoint presentation made by Molly that covered the history, mission and current activities of the center. We learned that the teens are closely supervised by Molly, a certified teacher, and her staff, all of whom have undergone numerous training events related to working with teenagers. Headquartered in the recreation center, the teen center offers a comfortable, safe place where teens can drop in and sign up to participate in a mixture of spontaneous and planned activities including ping-pong, basketball, bumper pool, cooking, and arts and crafts.

They also have special events such as tournaments, a printmaking event at the Jamestown Arts Center, and summer trips to Six Flags. Forty teens participated in the recent 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. lockin, and a record 230 attended the student-requested and studentplanned five-year celebration dance, where two Jamestown police officers had nothing to do all night but smile.

Speaking of Jamestown police, they are one of teen center’s staunch local supporters, recently bringing pizzas for the teens engaged in the three-on-three basketball tournament. Slice of Heaven donated bagels for the lock-in and other local businesses have also supported this wonderful program.

At the teen center, youngsters gain skills as they learn to take responsibility, plan and execute events, contribute to the community, and have fun. The programs and its liaisons with other community groups provide teens with opportunities to log community service hours, gain skills such as babysitter certification, and find a job. Molly Conlon is well aware of the importance of these experiences for building college resumes, and the center offers opportunities and connections for teens planning for college or looking for a job.

We’ve all known how lucky we are to live in beautiful Jamestown, and now we know how fortunate our teens – and their families – are to have this resource available 32 hours a week. A big thank you to Molly and Jill for their wonderful presentation, to the rec center and local organizations who support it, and to the Jamestown students and citizens who dreamed and execut- ed the vision for the Jamestown Teen Center.

Karin Murray
Central Baptist Church

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