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7:19 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

'Launch Pad' teen center to put on Halloween dance Friday

Courtesy photo<br>
Launch Pad teen and adult advisory board members are, top row from left, Charles Matheus, Courtney Osterfelt, Victoria Reckmeyer, Ben Jensen, Ethan Sajko, Tina Blake, and Michael Yarnes. Bottom row fromleft, Ty Alanis, (visitor), and Ashley Brown.

Courtesy photo<br> Launch Pad teen and adult advisory board members are, top row from left, Charles Matheus, Courtney Osterfelt, Victoria Reckmeyer, Ben Jensen, Ethan Sajko, Tina Blake, and Michael Yarnes. Bottom row fromleft, Ty Alanis, (visitor), and Ashley Brown.

PRESCOTT - The Prescott Teen Center, called The Launch Pad, has a temporary location and plans to accommodate not just Prescott, but the entire quad-city area.

The center's temporary location is at the Granite Mountain Unitarian Universalist Congregation, behind the True Value hardware store, on Sunset Street.

The site offers a community gathering area and a multipurpose room, Teen Center Director Courtney Osterfelt said.

The center will be open from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday for after-school drop-in hours beginning in November. A high school students-only costume party and Halloween dance also is scheduled for Friday on the Prescott College campus.

"Teens can come by the center and receive academic tutoring, hang out and do their homework, play games with a trustworthy adult mentor - just a place to hang before mom and dad are done with work, or before it's time to go home," Osterfelt said. "That's our temporary location. We're looking for a permanent location and that's something that we're working on right now."

Osterfelt and other representatives currently are working on a partnership with school districts in the quad city area.

"We've shifted our focus from just a Prescott teen center to a quad-city teen center. We've been having conversations with people saying their kids live in Prescott Valley and there's nothing for them to do there and my teens live in Chino and there's not much for them to do there. Right now people are very interested in collaborative projects that reach out to entire communities."

Transportation and other factors also will come into play. Besides working with schools, officials also have partnered with a number of nonprofits, businesses and colleges in the area.

Benefits to schools, Osterfelt said, could include student access to social workers, counseling, tutoring and more. Workshops could also be offered through The Launch Pad thanks to various partnerships.

Noah Kass, advocate for the teen center, helped form a teen advisory board as well as a senior advisory board to help oversee the center.

"The teen center is for the teens by the teens," Kass said. "The teen advisory board is only members of the community that the center will be serving, specifically teens between the ages of 12 and 18 that have expressed interest in helping to make decisions."

Kass is a student at Prescott College and currently working on an independent study program for teen center advocacy with seven other students.

"We do the behind the scenes work for what's going to happen here," Kass said. "Right now we're working on community outreach and fundraising."

The Halloween dance, and costume contest, will be held Friday, for high school students only, at Prescott College to raise awareness for the teen center. Attendees will meet at The Prescott College welcome center, at 202 Grove Street. Cost for the dance is a suggested $5 donation. Activities at the dance will include a photo booth, a dance off, face painting, fishing for donuts, limbo and more.

"Either you donate a canned good or there is a suggested donation of $5. We're not going to turn anybody away. It's primarily to raise awareness," Kass said.

For more information on the teen center, visit their teen center Prescott Facebook page.

Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier.