West Suburban YMCA houses Newton Teen Center

The Newtonite

by Samantha Libraty
In January, the Newton Teen Center relocated to the West Suburban YMCA, according to Newton Teen Center director Chanda Gunn. It had operated on Chestnut Street in Newton Lower Falls since 2009.
The Newton Teen Center was run by the Newton Community Service Center. Its second location on Cherry Street had been relocated to NCSC’s facility in September and rolled into the YMCA center in April because of a lack of funding and resources, Gunn said.
The new Newton Teen Center is still funded by the Newton Partnership, but is housed at the YMCA because more facilities and resources available in that location, according to Gunn.
When the Newton Community Service Center was experiencing funding cut backs, it reevaluated the Teen Center on Cherry Street. The program decided that it was too expensive to run a separate facility for the Teen Center and that YMCA would could function as an alternative, she added.
“The YMCA has an abundance of resources for us to use, including multiple properties that we can use over the summer for camping trips and outings,” Gunn said. “There is a great support system in Newton and throughout the entire YMCA system, so the transition to the YMCA was a good transition because overall the Teen Center is a community of people.”
Students who register to be part of the Teen Center are able to use the entire YMCA facility, including the basement, which is devoted to teens, according to Gunn.
Sophomore Danny Thibeault, who goes to the Teen Center, said, “Since it is at the the YMCA, you can play basketball or work out or just hang out with friends. There are computers, a dance room, air hockey and other fun activities at the YMCA that are great for teens to have fun with friends.
Coordinators from the Teen Center organize movie, Six Flags, skiing, paintballing and camping trips, she added.

“We have fun getting to know new kids and staff members,” she said. “Cool people hang out with us and have a great time.

 “I got to the Teen Center because I have a lot of friends who go there and everybody is really nice. Other kids should go to the Teen Center because it’s just a fun place to be.

“No one wants to be bored, and we want kids to be safe. We want to provide the resources teenagers need for homework and to hang out. And, we also want to expand teens’ communities,” Thibeault said.
Teens from Brookline, Newton and Waltham go to the Teen Center. Gunn said, “As long as you can get to the YMCA, then you are welcome.”
The Teen Center is looking for more teenagers to join, according to Gunn. Visit the Newton Teen Center website for more information.