Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) cut the ribbon for its new Youth Center and Headquarters, 1911 Church St., during a celebratory grand opening and open house on May 13. After the ribbon cutting, more than 200 families and community members gathered inside the building to experience its numerous program and community spaces firsthand through interactive activities and tours.
In the Maker Space, visitors joined Y.O.U. partner Open Studio Project to build and decorate their own picture frames, or another partner, Tiz Media, in a birdwatching scavenger hunt throughout the building. Down the hall in the Demonstration Kitchen, youth were invited to join Chef Q in crafting a tasty treat and honing their cooking skills. Through the back doors, Y.O.U. high-schoolers gave tours of the learning garden they have been designing and maintaining with support from The Talking Farm, and then invited visitors to plant something of their own to take home.
When asked her favorite part of the day, seventh-grader Jada had a hard time deciding: “The photo booth, the face painting, the garden…wait – I liked everything!” Meanwhile, first-grader Ella said her favorite part was getting a free book after decorating her own bookmark.
Although Saturday’s event and ribbon cutting marked the official grand opening of the facility, Y.O.U. staff, programs, youth, and partners have been utilizing the building and its program spaces since February. Y.O.U.’s Board President Sue Brenner said, “We are thrilled by how many partners, neighbors, youth, families, and community members have been a part of our home in these opening weeks.”