Lakota schools’ only after-school teen center in Liberty Twp. will soon have a satellite facility in West Chester Twp.
The EDGE Teen Center saw officials on Thursday celebrate 10 years at the location adjacent to Lakota East High School and a short walk from Lakota East Freshman School.
But center officials also recently announced the youth center’s first expansion that will see students from Lakota West Freshman School in West Chester have a short distance to their own facility inside a local church.
Starting in August, EDGE will operate its after-school, teen-focused program in space donated by Cornerstone United Methodist Church at 7600 Princeton Glendale Road, said Brenda Yablonsky, executive director of the EDGE Teen Center.
“This collaboration with Cornerstone is a game-changer,” said Yablonsky, whose non-profit center is funded through a variety of corporate, government and school funds as well as individual donations.
The Liberty Twp. 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.
“The new EDGE Teen Center near our Lakota West Freshman campus is a welcome addition to the neighborhood,” said Lakota schools Superintendent Matt Miller.
“We are excited for the after-school opportunities that are opening up for our west side students. The close proximity to the freshman building is something that will benefit many of our families. We are very happy for the success of the organization and the support they are receiving from Cornerstone Church to make this expansion possible,.”
Yablonsky said the wing of the church’s building to be used is already built out with all of the “fun factors needed for an effective teen center, including gaming tables, a café, music and audio visual systems.
“It also has plenty of private small group space that will be used for the daily programming that is part of the EDGE model that includes bringing in outside experts and speakers to address its four focus areas: academic success, healthy living, life skills and community service.
“To their credit, Cornerstone has this wonderful asset that they want to make available to serve the needs of the community. People from this community have been asking us for years to bring a teen program to the west side of Lakota but the cost to build another facility was a barrier.”
“We see our partnership with EDGE Teen Center as a way to serve an often under-served segment of our community – our teens – by meeting them at this critical point of their development and providing support and encouragement,” said Aaron King, chair of Cornerstone’s board of Servant Leaders.
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