Winston, Oregon – The way Executive Director Dr. Roxana Grant explains it, the Winston Area Community Partnership Teen Center is a triumph that grew out of a tragedy.
“The drive to start a teen center began in the early 2000s, after two young men who had nothing to do were playing with guns – and they both died,” Dr. Grant said. The center opened in 2008. “It is open after school and over summer for kids to come in and unwind, play a little pool and chat with their friends.” The teen center recently received some funding from the Avista Foundation.
Anywhere from 40 to 65 different students of the 165 teens signed up at the center come in once a week. It’s a crowd that sometimes pushes up against the occupancy limit of 40.
“It feels like they are outgrowing the building,” Dr. Grant said. “We are beginning fundraising for a new independent space in partnership with the local food bank.”
The fundraising is in its very early stages, but a larger campaign will roll out soon. Dr. Grant said the new building will have a large kitchen which can be used both by the teen center and the food bank.
Winston, which is located south of Roseburg, is home to about 6,000 people. During school days, many of the nearby schools’ athletes come into the center for a snack and a little downtime after school, but before sports practice starts around 4.
The center has a clothing closet where teens can grab a coat in the winter or borrow emergency clothing if needed. Feminine hygiene products are available for the girls.
“We want to be a safe haven for the local teens,” Dr. Grant said. “If they need help with something, if they need counseling for instance, we can help set that up.”
Some of the 165 students who are registered at the teen center operate a small store that’s open to the nearby senior center.
“They learn how to manage a little business, inventory and orders, and how to talk to the customers,” Dr. Grant said. “They also learn how to price for profit - but not set prices so high customers can afford it.”
The teens who run the store spend time with the seniors at the senior center.
“They also learn how to count change back properly. It’s the seniors who are helping the teens learn how to do that,” Dr. Grant said. “A lot of good things happen when teens interact with seniors.”
At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people’s lives. Since 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $13 million to organizations that support vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. The foundation is a separate, non-profit organization established by Avista Corp., and does not receive funding from Avista Utilities’ customers through rates. For more information on grant applications and geographical areas covered, please visit avistafoundation.com.