Safe After School Hang Out is Now Open
COLUMBIA - It was a project that has been three months in the making. On Tuesday, a new teen center debuted across the street from Hickman High School. The directors of the Boys and Girls Club say there was a great need for a safe and positive place for kids to get together after school and hang out.
The Boys and Girls Club of Columbia and volunteers converted an old photo studio into an after school hangout for kids in grades six to twelve. Volunteers who helped lay the carpet and paint the walls since mid-August were still putting some finishing touches on the building up until the debut of the building on Tuesday.
After school, the center officially had it's ribbon cutting ceremony even thought it had a soft open about a month ago.
Valorie Livingston, the Executive Director of the teen center, hopes to serve between 75 to 100 kids after the center gains some staff. The teen center is going to be the only after school youth development agency open from 3 - 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Many say this is an important time of day for teenagers who may be unsupervised.
"To have kids that are unsupervised because their prents are not home yet from work, or they're just hanging out and don't have anything to do," explained Livingston, "that's when they find things to get into."
Livingston also says this center will give kids a chance to work on computers, do homework, and have some fun. She added that the only thing missing is a gymnasium for the kids.
Although the building budget is tight for the non-for-profit, Livingston hopes to make that happen in the next year.