The Urbana Youth Center (UYC) is hosting an open house for new students, parents and the community on Thursday, Aug. 18 from 4 to 8 p.m. at 160 West Market Street in Urbana.
The event will allow new students and parents to sign up for free membership. In addition, any community member who would like a tour of the facility or is interested in volunteering is welcome to attend.
According to UYC’s mission, the center provides comprehensive youth services to reach, restore and revive the community. The center currently serves more than 550 student members in grades six through 12. With open hearts, open minds and open doors, UYC educates students through respectful, honest and open-minded programming.
Those students who are entering the sixth grade this fall and students in other grades who are not yet members are encouraged to attend.
Registering for free membership allows students access to a range of youth center services. To date, some of the programs delivered to UYC’s 550-plus members include safe hangout spaces (30,000-plus hours of childcare provided), nutrition programs (17,000-plus meals and snacks served), hygiene products (1,000-plus distributed), clothing (350-plus items donated), financial literacy (120 students educated) and career preparation (50-plus students connected to local employers). UYC provides Homework & Study Assistance to get students on track for graduation. The team also works with students who cannot graduate on a traditional plan to get them their high school equivalency diploma, which allows them to earn on average $9,000 more per year or about $500,000 more during their lifetime – based on research from the national GED® Testing Service.
UYC Executive Director Justin Weller explained: “Most days the center is open during the school year we see 60-80 of our students each night. UYC provides a broad range of programs, so there really is something for all kids. Our ongoing success depends, in part, on the community’s continued support. The open house is an opportunity for us to engage with the community. We rely on our awesome volunteers to help serve students and encourage anyone interested to attend.”
UYC notes that snacks and food will be free to anyone attending. Guided tours will be offered, and additional information on student membership and volunteering will also be provided. Those interested are encouraged to stop by anytime between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
As a not-for-profit organization, the Urbana Youth Center relies on donations and grants to deliver programming and support operations. About 70 percent of UYC’s general funds are provided through non-public sources in the local community.
Those who want to donate or learn more about UYC can go to https://UrbanaYouthCenter.org or text the youth center at 937-772-4022.