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How could I set up a business giving teenagers a place to go, have activities, get counsel, etc.? Are there any grants or funding available? There is nothing to do for kids except school and church. Our discount movie theater (with drink and popcorn for two costing about $18) was closed. There is nothing for kids to do!
I would first check with local churches to make sure one of them doesn't already have such a program, that perhaps just needs some publicity.
Then, you would need a building. Again, I would start with a church to see if they had a space they could let you use.
I would look for donations of the following items:
tables for homework
couple of TV's
CD players & headphones
donations of lots of good clean music CD's and movies
I would also contact your local retired teachers group to get some volunteers for tutoring. I'd get a hold of the local Pepsi or Coke men to donate sodas. If you need some funding, don't be afraid to ask the kids to help with fundraisers and/or charge them at the door to come in, even if its only $1. If you are in a rural area, you may qualify for a grant-if you have free tutoring, contact your local state board of education. Contact places like Big Brothers/Big Sisters to see if you can partner with them.
These are my personal suggestions. I do not have experience setting up such a center but I agree that one is needed. It sounds like a rural rather than an urban area, and I can remember being in one for a year when the one boring movie house within 40 miles shut down.
A coalition of churches might be better than leaning on one and its beliefs. Religious study shouldn't be a part of the teen center.
Tutoring is important as is non-tutoring time fillers such as games or movies/videos/DVDs.
Who in your town could point you in the direction of other rural areas that have done similar programs? Do you have a public library or can you contact the teen librarian in the nearest city for bookmobile assistance and DVD loans.
Can you get the gift or loan of a DVD player/ Netflix subscription/ cable subscription from the company (I know, but you can dream).
The best of luck to you. I don't know where you are, that might help. Google always helps...eventually.
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