JCC opens new teen center at Shoppingtown Mall

The JCC teen department is charged with operating the teen center, which is funded through various donations from businesses, foundations and private donors. A teen council is also in place where members help with programming and coordinate volunteers for events.

"We will continue to seek funding as we look to expand our hours, staff and programming," Innella-Venne said.

Hours the teen center is open currently vary; it is only open for special events and programs at this time. However, the plan is to run programs frequently, Innella-Venne said, and partner with other organizations to hold different types of programs as often as possible. Eventually, the center will have regular, established hours of operation.

How does one join?

Pre-teens and teenagers in grades seven through 12 must complete an application, sign off on a code of conduct agreement and pay a nominal membership fee. Advantages of being a member include discounts on SPOT-sponsored programs and events of many that will also be open to the public. Call the JCC at 445-2360 for more information on how to become a member.

"This segment of our population is much underserved in Central New York from a programming perspective," Erlebacher said. "So we are thrilled to be able to offer teens a place where they can learn, grow and socialize in a warm and safe environment."

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