About 95 student members at the Urbana Youth Center (UYC) recently had the opportunity to take a free trip to a trampoline park, Get Air, in Columbus. The trip was supported in part by donations from Rittal and Bundy Baking Solutions.
The trip was provided to some of the youth center’s active student volunteers who help clean and care for the facilities, according to Justin T. Weller, Executive Director for the Urbana Youth Center.
“At UYC, we work to encourage positive behavior and engaged, community-minded student members. Part of how we achieve this is by making sure students take ownership in the work we do at the youth center. One of the ways we accomplish this is through our student volunteer program,” Weller said.
The Urbana Youth Center opened earlier this year and has experienced major success. With more than 400 student members and robust, regular attendance, the demand for UYC’s numerous programs is strong.
Many students in the community would not have opportunities like this if it were not for the youth center, according to the UYC team.
“It is crucial to understand that many of the students who went on this trip have never had an opportunity to go to a trampoline park and travel outside Urbana. Part of what makes UYC special is our capacity to serve students of all backgrounds and experiences,” Weller said.
The Ohio Department of Education announced information in 2018 that classified about 53% of students, or approximately 1,155 children, in the Urbana City School system as “disadvantaged” and the U.S. Census Bureau recently released data revealing that about 30% of kids in the Urbana area live in poverty.
Weller shared, “The need is apparent and the demand demonstrates that students not only want our services and programs, but actively make use of them. Investing in the future of our students makes excellent financial sense.”
According to data from the After School Alliance, a national not-for-profit organization, and the Committee for Economic Development, a Washington, D.C. based, non-partisan public policy organization, about eight in 10 parents say a youth center will help them keep their job. This can be achieved by avoiding work interruptions due to student scheduling challenges. Additionally, for every $1 invested in after-school programs, $3 or more is saved within the local economy in the future by increasing future worker productivity, improving job placement, and reducing workforce issues such as tardiness.
According to the UYC team, the Get Air trip is just the beginning of numerous off-site opportunities for UYC students. Both local, regional, and national experiences are in the works for student members at the Urbana Youth Center.
“Building bright futures for our youth is no small task, but the Urbana Youth Center, the GrandWorks Foundation, and this community are up to the challenge. We’ve already proved it can be done. Now, we must build on that success and secure the futures of these young people,” Weller shared.
About Urbana Youth Center
UYC believes that the future of our children impacts our community’s opportunities and success for decades to come. With open hearts and open minds, this community can rally our resources to not only lift kids up, but set them on a trajectory for accomplishing amazing things.
Information from Urbana Youth Center.