Second teen outreach center opens in Fryeburg
FRYEBURG, Maine — Teens now have a new place to call theirs — Pequawket Valley Health Initiatives is offering Teen Outreach at the American Legion Hall afternoons from Monday-Friday from 2:30-5:30 p.m.
“We currently are helping with funds for the teen center at the Dave Hastings Community Center in Fryeburg,” Chris Whitaker, president and founder of PVHI, said Thursday.
Mary Whitaker runs the PVHI Outreach.
PVHI partnered with the Fryeburg Recreation Department to open that teen center for students who attend Fryeburg Academy and the Molly Ockett School to use, opening its doors last September.
“We are very happy on what’s happening at the Teen Center and are looking forward to offering much of the same at PVHI Outreach on a smaller scale,” said Whtiaker. “We thought since the old legion hall wasn’t being used as much anymore since the new community center was added it would be a nice fit.”
Rec Director Rick Buzzell said recently, “things are going very well” at the teen center, geared for kids aged 13-17.
“Their hours are 2:30-5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday,” Whitaker said. “But as of last Monday (March 22), we have also opened PVHI Outreach, which is located at the Legion Hall across from the (Wadsworth Gymnasium) at Fryeburg Academy, a second place for teens to go.”
He added: “We currently are renting from the town and are planning to do other community activities down the road.”
Whitaker said COVID-19 protocols are in place at both teen sites. “Food, games, fun, learn, socialize or just hang out,” a flier promoting the new Teen Outreach site states, adding that teens now “have two great places to go after school.”
Teens will have to go through a health screening, including getting their temperature checked, before taking part in the daily activities at either place. Masks are required.
PVHI Outreach and the Teen Center serves Fryeburg, Denmark, Lovell, Stoneham, Brownfield, Stow in Maine.
“Our goal is to get those kids after school who don’t participate in any activity, just to give them a safe place to go to,” explained Whitaker.
Whitaker and Buzzell researched the teen population in the area.
“There are approximately 150-200 kids in that age group” who do not play sports after school or are involved in other clubs or activities, Whitaker said.
“And so you know, they go home — maybe nothing’s at home. We thought if they knew there was a safe place and that they could do different activities, they might be interested,” Whitaker said.
Pequawket Valley, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, is involved in the health curriculum at Fryeburg Academy and the middle school at Molly Ockett.
“We are also planning on starting an AlaTeen group sometime over the next few months, probably Zoom to start, and eventually in person,” said Whitaker. “We will be able to offer this to all Teens going forward. PVHI is so excited, and like all can’t wait for this Pandemic to be over.”
For more information, go to pvhi.org.