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United Way helps fund Nowata Teen Center

The Boys & Girls Club of Nowata recently chartered a Teen Center site a block away from their club building. Located in a former church building at 139 S. Pine in Nowata, the Club is renovating the site to allow teens to move in Feb. 25.

The Bartlesville Regional United Way Board of Directors approved a $20,000 donation to the Club  for start-up costs for the Teen Center. This donation allows them to also get matching funds from the Boys & Girls Club of America.

“We are pleased to help the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata take advantage of the matching funds,” CEO and Executive Director Jody Burch said. “Their program fits in with our focus on education, and we are excited about the impact the Club will be able to have on Nowata teens through this new site.”

The funds from United Way are crucial to the Teen Center’s opening, Executive Director Treasure Standeford said.

“Getting in with United Way has been a gamechanger,” she said.

While they had some programs with the teens in their Club, having a center dedicated to them will allow them to take it to the next level. Almost all of the teens are eligible for free and reduced lunch at school, which is an indicator of the poverty of the area.

The new Teen Center will feature a computer lab, a theater room and space for the teens to hang out with TV’s and gaming equipment. An Oklahoma Thunder themed room is also planned. The space is planned to draw teens in to the Center, keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.

“I want it to have a relaxed atmosphere,” Leonard Thomas, unit director for the Teen Center, said.

The Teen Center will be able to fit 75 teens. The Club has an average attendance of 40 teens in the current location.

The Club will be able to offer core teen programs, such as CareerLaunch, which encourages Club members ages 13 to 18 to assess their skills and interests, explore careers, make sound educational decisions and prepare to join our nation’s work force. They can also participate in Keystone, a leadership development program with an emphasis on community service, and Passport to Manhood, which takes boys on a personal journey of maturation and growth. Smart Girls provides girls guidance toward healthy attitudes and lifestyles, eating right, staying fit, getting good health care and more.  

“All of these opportunities will further the impact that the Club is already having on Nowata teens.” Burch said. “We look forward to hearing great success stories from this Teen Center.”