Youth Service Bureau Looking for New Home

Youth Service Bureau Looking for New Home

It wasn't the news folks at the Bellefonte Youth Center wanted to hear. They've only got three months to find a new place to stay.
BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY - It isn't the news folks at the Bellefonte Youth Center want to hear.

They've only got three months to find a new place to stay, or else they'll have to shut down the place that serves hundreds of kids.

The county will begin construction on the Courthouse Annex in Bellefonte later this year. That includes the Temple Building, where the youth center is currently located.

Folks who work at and use the center say the news they have to move is devastating.

"It's a concern to us," Bellefonte Youth Center Program Manager, Peggy Horner, said. "We need to make sure that there doesn't end up being a time that we don't have a center because the kids are here every day."

It's where Horner has worked for the past nine years. She calls it a home away from home for the kids.

"These kids are here every day from after school until almost bedtime," she said.

The Bellefonte Youth Center serves between 200 and 250 kids a year. On a daily basis, they're seeing anywhere from 50 to 100.

This center is a place kids go after school for different activities and help doing homework. Many of them also count on the center for their daily meals.

Denise McCann says the fact they have to move is stressful.

"We're in the process of taking steps to meet with people to see who is available to help and what help is out there," McCann, Youth Service Bureau Division Director, said.

She says the new place needs to be centrally located in Bellefonte because most of the kids walk to the center from school. They need a space that is about 1,000 square feet.

"A kitchen is pretty important to have. Some of our kids, that's their meal they're getting that day," McCann said. "We do a lot of cooking with the kids, both to meet their needs, but also there are a lot of life skills that go along with teaching those kids about cooking and baking."

It's a place kids go to learn and an integral part of the Bellefonte community.

Horner says losing it would be a big blow for everyone.

"We're just hoping, hoping we can find something so we don't have to put a stop in our services or anything like that," she said.

Right now, the Youth Service Bureau rents this spot for well below market value and say paying market value rent won't be possible for them.

They will hold a community meeting April 7 at 5:00 P.M. at the Bellefonte Youth Center, 114 South Allegheny Street.

Everyone is invited for public input.

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