Photo submitted Teen Center

Photo submitted

Teen Center

This week, area young people will have a safe place to go to fellowship with one another, do their homework, enjoy listening and playing music, lift weights and exercise and just be kids.

The Center for Teens officially opened its doors Monday, June 3 in Russellville inviting kids of Logan County to come out and hang out at an organized space which will help them grow, learn and have fun in a well-monitored and comfortable atmosphere. And it's free to attend.

"We are at an exciting moment in our ministry," said Will Sandlin, founder of the center. "We opened our doors for the first time officially to young people on Monday at 12 noon. God has blessed and brought us to this point and we are excited to see all the things He will be doing through this Center."

Sandlin says a big thank you to all those who have worked and prayed hard to see this happen.

Helping just one kid is worth all the work. This is the outlook Sandlin had while spending countless hours preparing to open Logan County's new teen center.

"Kids need a place to go," said Sandlin. "A safe space where they can fellowship with one another, learn from one another and become a part of something positive."

Leisure time is a significant part of young people's lives and is often spent together with their peers, a teen center could, therefore, be a crucial arena for helping adolescents develop their full potential and attain the best possible health in the transition to adulthood. For Sandlin, who has spent years helping guide young people through an outdoor ministry called Center of the Mark, "It's time we have a place for our community's young people instead of hanging out on the streets."

Youth centers can play an active role in health promotion and be a health-promoting setting. Providing safe, structured, and inclusive settings that focus on a broad range of developmental needs can best serve the needs of young people. Structured activities provide opportunities for skill building and related improvements in specific self-competencies, for positive peer interactions and the development of friendship, and for exposure to positive adult role models. Creating such a positive place for kids, said Sandlin, is a dream come true.

It was 2016 when Sandlin and members of the ministry began moving with God's help towards a place that could serve the teen need, could provide a mentor to look up to, and point a direction in which to go.

After a building was found (345 West Third Street, Russellville), Sandlin and volunteers began working right away. It wasn't until the fall of 2018, however, the project picked up momentum after the ministry secured a Carpenter Foundation Grant allowing the directive to switch into high gear on the multi-purpose facility for the youth.

There are two sides to the teen center. One side is a gymnasium complete with a basketball and volleyball court, stage area, pool tables, and archery range. The second side, which opens first, is the place teens will be privy to a variety of experiences. From a cafe-coffee bar to a music room, computer station, meeting space, weight room, and a spacious lounging area complete with couches and chairs and a big screen for movies. There will be USB plugin stations and teens will have use of WiFi.

"This has not been an accident," said Sandlin. "This has been a God-driven dream that will make a difference in the lives of our kids."

Volunteers are still needed in many ways," said Sandlin. You can stop by the Center to learn more about volunteering and pick up an application.