Why Should High Schoolers Come to the Teen Center?
BY CAROL KASULE, TEEN CENTER SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN
The Teen Center is a welcoming after school program where high school students come. When students come to the Teen Center, it is where their joy and laughter begin after having a long day at school. It’s open from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm.
One reason why students should come to the Teen Center is to keep busy when they have nothing to do after school. Students can engage in different after school programs that enable them to explore their interests, for example, cooking. Students learn about foods from the time they are manufactured to the time they are brought to the table. For example, last year Teen Center students visited A&J King Bakery on Boston Street in Salem to learn how machines and people work together to make food. Before the field trip, students did an experiment inside the Teen Center to learn about the science of bread making. Students fed sugar to yeast in a water bottle covered with a balloon to see what happens – the balloon started expanding because yeast produces carbon dioxide after processing the sugar. This is one of many examples of how to keep busy in the Teen Center and how much you can learn doing fun activities.
One of the other programs is ELL Street which is a service learning program for English Language Learners where students explore the community and interact with residents, officials, and popular places in order to build confidence in communication. This aids in language development through experiential learning. Two other programs are Brothers For Success and Sisters For Success. Brothers is an empowering program for males of color to discuss how to pursue college education and succeed in life. Sisters discusses different topics ranging from self esteem, media messaging, identity and family responsibilities.
As part of these programs and many more that aren’t mentioned, students are able to go on field trips to get a wider view of what they are doing and how it is related to the community. Going on these different field trips is definitely fun – meals are provided to students and sometimes even prizes through competitions and challenges. By doing all this at the Teen Center and in the community, students also meet a lot of new people who share experiences about life and careers. As an example, students met professionals in the fields of medical, engineering, financial and law. These types of events improve teens’ career knowledge and self esteem and help them to develop good networking skills that will push them further in life.
The Teen Center has a variety of resources students need to succeed in school from books, textbooks, laptops and many other scholastic materials to a proper internet connection, and well trained tutors to help them with their homework and preparing for exams. The staff is so open-minded at all times, and so friendly. When they see a challenge a student may have, they talk to them, mentor them, listen to them and work together to achieve a common goal. Staff prepare students for jobs by helping them write resumes, train for job interviews, fill out job applications and host workshops about the many aspects of work life. The staff helps teens find jobs, plan for college, complete applications and visit college campus visits – all for free.
This is very much a fun place to be after school because there are different games to play such as cards, chase, trivia, and puzzles to relax their minds. There is a variety of foods and snacks that are served when students come so they never go hungry while here. Some come to hang out, talk to friends, and have fun. They aren’t forced to do anything that they don’t want to; instead, the staff helps them find something based on their own interests to explore. Students who come to the Teen Center daily can tell you all about it!