On Friday August 25th, a small group of BBRC Rotarians: Paul Osborn, Wendi Fischer, Laura Cosacchi and Alex Chehab, set off to tour the Teen Center that is part of the Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue. We were greeted by Seth Dostart, Director of the Teen Excellence Center, as well as his staff, who oversee the tutoring program after-school. The Teen Center offers a series of programs which you can access on a drop-in basis and they are free. They are the following:
- Tutoring and Mentoring- helps the teens receive tutoring by volunteers and other students in subjects they need help with, in addition to homework completion
- Keystone Advisory, which is for those teens interested in learning more about leadership
- Teen Café- they offer a free meal every Thursday at 6pm; otherwise, they have some simple snacks for sale
- Best Buy Teen Tech Center sponsored and provided by Best Buy- this Center allows the teens to access computers for needed work. They also have a 3D printer ,which helps them work on hands-on projects including sewing technological pieces on clothing (see pictures), as one project for example. They have others monthly.
- Wheel lab at the Club: “Wheel lab is a new non-profit developed specifically to meet the needs of the east king county community to provide creative, hands-on building programs for at-risk youth. Through the medium of bicycles, youth will gain the necessary skills to maintain, build and create bikes in a positive environment that fosters thinking creatively and using the engineering brain in all of us. We aim to develop our youth into safe, conscientious riders, which know the rules of the road.” (info. provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue)
- Triple Play, which is a healthy exercise and food program to promote healthy eating habits etc…
In touring the facility, we were all amazed at how neatly laid out it is- they also provide the opportunity for teens to complete art projects and express themselves through music. They are actually in the process of revamping their stage and music room to feature a recording studio with updated equipment, which will be provided by www.notesfornotes.org, which is a non-profit organization providing future musicians with free equipment.
All in all, it was amazing to see the impact that this program has for teens on the Eastside, with more than 150 per day stopping in to access their services. The Teen Center is looking for volunteers to help with the following hands-on activities: help feed the teens on Thursdays from 4-8pm, and provide tutoring/ mentoring after-school. For more information, please go to: http://www.bgcbellevue.org/a/Programs/Teens and/or contact the Director, Seth Dostart at: firstname.lastname@example.org