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Sat, Dec. 14

Verde Valley Teen Center is preparing for lift off

The new Verde Valley Teen Center hopes to open with the beginning of the new school year the first week of August. Contractor Bob Backus and a team of volunteer workers have been updating the former Cottonwood Fire Station to accommodate a teen center activities along with opportunities for life-skill classes. VVN/ Vyto Starinskas

The new Verde Valley Teen Center hopes to open with the beginning of the new school year the first week of August. Contractor Bob Backus and a team of volunteer workers have been updating the former Cottonwood Fire Station to accommodate a teen center activities along with opportunities for life-skill classes. VVN/ Vyto Starinskas

COTTONWOOD -- The Verde Valley Teen Center is looking for volunteers and furnishings to complete the new Teen Center on Mingus Avenue opposite Cottonwood Middle School.

The center hopes to open with the beginning of the new school year the first week of August. Contractor Bob Backus and a team of volunteer workers have been updating the former Cottonwood Fire Station to accommodate a teen center activities along with opportunities for life-skill classes.

Originally, the idea emerged during a summit of For Our City-Cottonwood in 2012, which prioritized community clean up programs as well as a teen center.

The concept took form with a subsequent summit in 2013 specifically to brainstorm the Teen Center proposal. The City of Cottonwood then agreed to provide part of the former fire station building for use as a teen center if the organization brought it up to code. After a review of the building, Backus and workers began making internal improvements.

Cottonwood City Clerk Marianne Jiménez, who has helped with the Teen Center formation, says a pool table and ping pong table have already been donated. The Verde Valley Computer Club refurbished three computers for the facility. Cable One has offered cable and internet service. And office furniture has also be donated.

The Moose Lodge has offered opportunities for fund raising and the recent Tilted Earth Festival made the Teen Center its benefit.

But, Jimenez says they will be looking for shifts of two volunteers for simple supervision from 3 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at first.

Even though there have been generous donations, Marianne says there is still a big wish list. The facility still needs a big screen TV and DVD player, file cabinets, kitchen table and chairs, bean bag chairs as well as sewing machines and art supplies.

Once the program is organized, the teen center hopes to provide classes for basic life skills. Members of the Cottonwood Youth Advisory Committee say many of those basic skills are no longer offered in formal school setting.

Jimenez believes sewing and cooking classes, opportunities to learn to create and resumes and fill job applications, as well as instruction for check balancing, jewelry making and other art classes will be offered.

Call 928-340-2727 for more information about volunteering. All volunteers must pass a DPS background check.

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