New Space And New Opportunities
Salem Teens Create Success Outside of the Classroom
by Madison Borden
As of September 19th, 2016, LEAP for Education, an organization dedicated to helping youth discover their potential, opened up a new Teen Center for Salem students. This space is designed to give students extended after school help as well as provide teens with the opportunity to meet new people and become active participants in their community.
I visited the Teen Center and sat down with Taylor MacDonald, who is the programs coordinator. After spending some time exploring the beautifully crafted space, equipped with plenty of computers, homework tables, books, games, and snacks, MacDonald was able to perfectly capture the essence of what the program is all about.
Every week, volunteers from Salem State and MacDonald herself offer academic help to those who need it, free of charge. If a student is struggling with math, they can come and check in with either Sam or Mia, who offer tutoring and SAT help. Taylor also offers tutoring for English. Even if extra reinforcement is not needed, the environment of the Teen Center is very peaceful, allowing students to stay focused in order to accomplish their work.
In addition to academic assistance, the program offers countless clubs and extracurricular activities to take part in. Each club explores a wide variety of topics, including the effects of tobacco usage (The 84), coding (Girls who Code), Salem Access TV, Sewing Club, Brothers for Success, and many more.
All clubs offered do not require any previous experience and are available in order for students to try new things. If a student needs more information, all they have to do is ask a staff member or look at the board located near the study tables, which maps out all the events that are occurring within the next two weeks. This helps students to stay organized and seek out all of the options that are accessible to them.
There are also multiple hands-on events that take the students to places around Salem, including the animal shelter, Salem Theater Company, Salem Public Library, the Peabody Essex Museum, and others. By taking part in the activities that these places provide, students can find new interests and hobbies that may help guide them in the future. Furthermore, it is a great chance for students to showcase skills that they have and help peers who may have an interest in the same topic.
The goal of the Teen Center is, thus, very simple, to create a space that allows teens to express themselves and get the help that they need. If you enjoy the atmosphere and activities, spread the word to friends and classmates that may benefit from what the Teen Center provides.