Lakota opens newest after-school spot for teen students with games, video game room

A popular, after-school teen center is now available to more Lakota school students with Thursday’s opening of a second location.

The original Edge Teen Center in Liberty Township – next to Lakota East High School – now has a West Chester Township counterpart in the new Edge @ Cornerstone on the campus of the Cornerstone Church.

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The center opened the same afternoon as Lakota’s schools closed after the first day of the new school year.

More than two dozen students took advantage of the new spacious, recreation area – which includes a mini-stage, ping pong, pool, Foosball and a video game room – attached to the Cornerstone United Methodist Church at 7600 Princeton-Glendale Road.

Among the happy teens was Lakota West Freshman student Kynnedi Hughes, who joined her classmates in riding in vans transporting students the half-mile distance to the new teen center.

“It’s actually very cool and a great space,” said Hughes.

“It’s really big and there are different rooms so if you need to go study there are rooms for that. It’s pretty creative and a lot of games, which is pretty fun if you have no homework,” she said.

That’s the sort of reaction Brenda Yablonsky, executive director of the two teen centers, was hoping for when her group formed a partnership with the Cornerstone Church, which is donating its community room at no charge.

“It’s opening day for us and just really excited about serving teens on this side of the community,” said Yablonsky, whose two non-profit centers are funded through a variety of corporate, government and school funds as well as individual donations.

“It gives them a safe place to come after school and it has all the fun factors … and we have daily programs and experts coming in to talk about teen issues,” she said.

The original teen center has been serving Lakota East since 2009 and averages more than 100 students a day – 700-plus students annually - who use the center to do homework, socialize and play games, all under adult supervision.

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School parents must pick up their children from the centers by 6:30 p.m. Monday through Fridays during the school year.

The Liberty Township center is adjacent to the Lakota East campus and a walkable distance. Transportation is provided to Lakota West Freshman students to the new Edge Center.

Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller described the new teen center as “a welcome addition to the neighborhood.”

“We are excited for the after-school opportunities that are opening up for our west side students. And the close proximity to the freshman building is something that will benefit many of our families,” said Miller.

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