Bridging the gap for Pulaski County teens

by SAVANNAH WILLIS

SWT Media Intern

The Pulaski County Youth Center (PCYC) officially opened their doors Jan. 20, 2018, for children between the ages of 13 and 17. It is already providing valuable support to Pulaski County youth and shows promise of being a long-term asset to the county.

Three years ago, after the death of Noah Thomas, Phoenix Packaging reached their hand out to Tina Martin, now the Executive Director of PCYC. They knew something needed to be done to help bridge the gap, but they weren’t quite sure what.

After a feasibility study in January 2016, it was evident that the majority of the gaps were for ages between 13 and 17. So the question was asked: How are we going to provide a positive environment to help prepare these young people to become a part of the community for tomorrow.

This question is what brought PCYC to Pulaski County.

“Our hope is that this facility will be a hub for all services in this community, to reach our hands out and provide a place for all young people to come and reach their potential,” says Martin.

The Pulaski County Youth Center is a place where teenagers can go after school for help with homework, some fun activities such as robotics, and even a hot meal before they head home.

Each day there will be required homework time where Radford University students will be available for private tutoring. There will be open gym time, offered programs and some time for relaxing each day.

Not only will there be services directed toward education, students will have the opportunity to develop needed skills for job interviews as well as learning about proper interview attire and body language.

Within the center, there is the beginnings of a clothing bank. The hope is to be able to provide professional clothing for teenagers who are going to job interviews, or if the need is there in order to open up opportunities for the students to be successful.

The facility currently consists of two classrooms. One is a multipurpose room with areas for work space as well as computers, the other is a recreation room with a ping pong table, a pool table, couches and some gaming systems. However, this is only stage one of a three-stage program.

“We are eventually hoping to get the whole 47,000 square foot building updated for use,” Martin said, “It’s just going to take time.”

The start may be small with only two classrooms, but the possibilities for the future students in our community are endless.

PCYC is open from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. every day. This opens up opportunities for mentors to come and help the students with tutoring, stem programs, or even just a friend to talk to.

While the center is located at the old Riverlawn Elementary in Fairlawn, there will be two drop locations for students to get closer to home at the end of the day. A van will transport students to the central Dublin area and the Town of Pulaski. Arrangements must be made beforehand for this service to ensure the safety of all students.

Are you interested in seeing what the Pulaski County Youth Center has to offer? March 16 at 7:30 p.m., there will be an event hosted by the center called Friday Night Live. This event will have karaoke, snacks and an open gym hosted by the New River Community College men’s basketball team.

For more information, visit www.pcyouthcenter.org or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PulaskiCommunityYouthCenter.

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