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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Ginsi Bryant, Assistant Coordinator, (510) 981-5147

Berkeley teens make the plans, City supplies know-how!

Berkeley, California (Monday, July 30, 2007) - Wanna play pool?  How about ping-pong, air hockey or foosball?

The “After Spot,” for Berkeley teens, started at the end of June and already has more than 50 regulars. Teens have a blast competing in “Dance Revolution” where they can practice their coordination and dance technique, play games, or simply hang out and watch DVDs on a big flat screen TV.

The idea for the program started with Berkeley Organizing Congregation for Action (BOCA) after parents complained about the lack of activities and “safe space” for teens. Community meetings between BOCA, Mayor Tom Bates, and City Department heads and staff led to the idea of a pilot program for teens.

The Program began in February at West Berkeley Senior Center. Teens from Berkeley United Youth in Action (BUYA) started talking to other teens, planned their own program, and the “After Spot” was born.

“It’s been very rewarding seeing youth enjoy the program and now having the support from the City,” declared Kimmie Cox, 16.

“It’s been a learning process and exciting to see our work pay off," Maria Garcia, 18, chimed in.  Cox and Garcia both work as Youth Organizers for the “After Spot.”

The program currently operates at two locations:

Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park St.
Fridays nights, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

West Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 6th St.
Thursdays, 5:00-9:00 p.m.

The program is free, except for the monthly special events.  The “After Spot” program agenda is established by Berkeley teens with the support of City recreation staff. Teens have “hip-hopped” to the beat, sang karaoke, competed in slam poetry contests and attended monthly workshops and special events.  Summer special events have included both Water Rafting and a Ropes Course. 

“By providing teens with a safe place and the mentors, resources, and empowerment to establish their own programs, Berkeley is on the right track to prevent teen violence and create a healthy environment in which teens can flourish,” said Scott Ferris, Youth & Recreation Services Manager.

Upcoming events include:

Aloha Swim Party
Hawaiian fun, food, swimming, dancing, games, and prizes on Saturday, August 4, 1:00p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at West Campus Swim Center, 2100 Browning Street. Cost:  $3.  Must attend Berkeley school.  School I.D. required. ($5.00 without I.D.)

Echo Lake Camping Excursion
A fun trip to Echo Lake Camping grounds, near the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Teens have an opportunity to explore the great outdoors hiking, fishing, canoeing and more for overnight camping, August 10- August 13.  Cost is $45 per teen.  Deadline to sign-up:  August 7.

Contact Ginsi Bryant, Assistant Coordinator, at 981-5147 for information.


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