Local Youth Help Create and Facilitate Activities Center
September 2014 - Hard work and dedication. Planning and painting. That is what it took, among other things, for students from Region 10 School District, which consists of the communities of Burlington and Harwinton, to help create an activity center for themselves and their peers.
The activities center held its ribbon-cutting ceremony in June 2014 and is a component of Safe Harbor Youth Services, which works in collaboration with Torrington Youth Services. Tom Donaldson, Director of Torrington Area Youth Services Bureau and Safe Harbor Youth Services, appreciated the support provided by student volunteers from Lewis S. Mills High School. Throughout the spring, they consistently dedicated time to work with him on the weekends to prepare the center for furniture installation and future programming. Students removed items from storage to clear the space, made repairs, and painted. The activities center is located 256 Spielman Highway / Rt. 4 in Burlington, while the Safe Harbor Youth Services office is located in Harwinton Town Hall.
Donaldson explained, “The activities center is not a drop-in center; it will be supervised by adults, with specific events such as barbeques and dances, planned and facilitated by student volunteers.” The student volunteers will evaluate the needs for services and work with the adult counselors to develop programming.
Founded in 2012 with strong support from Ted Shafer and Michael Criss, the First Selectmen of Burlington and Harwinton respectively, Safe Harbor Youth Services provides programs which address the needs of youth and their families; develops and implements educational/social activities which prevent delinquency and strengthen families; and coordinates special projects that promote positive youth development.
The Activities Center is a key component of Safe Harbor Youth Services. Students and town officials felt adamant about creating a place to help local teens, and in turn help their families. The Activities Center was designed to be welcoming space for Region 10 youth. It has a meeting area with tables and chairs, a lounge area furnished with couches, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a sound-system. It is a place that local youth helped to create and build, and a place they can feel comfortable and safe while socializing and having fun.