The Center for Youth celebrates new opportunities, Juneteenth and ‘A Bridge for Peace’

In 2021, The Center for Youth has plenty to celebrate –  50 years ago in 1971 the agency was formed by young people with the intention of providing a space for youth to gather and to thrive. And that spirit that built The Center continues today as we expand into an additional space at 797 Monroe Avenue – the former YMCA of Greater Rochester Monroe Avenue Branch. The new space is known as ‘A Bridge to Peace’ – a building that will serve as an intersection for young people, providing restorative practice services, workforce development training, and so much more.

Thanks to WHAM 13 for telling the story of A Bridge to Peace:

WHAM 13: Center for Youth Celebrates New Opportunities, Juneteenth and ‘A Bridge to Peace’

The center took over the property on Monroe Avenue that formerly housed the YMCA Monroe branch. That site is now the home to “A Bridge for Peace”, which helps young people engage in peer-based communication and resolution.

“It’s time for us to bridge our differences and reclaim some peace, and our other building is right across the 490 bridge,” said Center for Youth Executive Director Elaine Spaull. “So, we’re welcoming everyone today to be with us, to celebrate, to reclaim the world, to get into the light from the darkness of the last 16 months and to remember how important our kids are.”

An open house at A Bridge for Peace Wednesday coincided with two other big events. They “Day of Champions” event honored workers at The Center for Youth. The center is also celebrating Juneteenth a little early, with events going on all week. Wednesday’s activities included performances and educational opportunities.

“We want it to be an educational day, as well as a day of celebration,” said Spaull.

The Center for Youth was started 50 years ago by young people who wanted a central place where they could access needed resources.

“Through that time, we have grown so much,” said Nolica Murray-Fields, director of restorative practices and equity. “We have services for runaway and homeless youth. We have buildings, we have housing – we also are in about 50 schools in Monroe County and beyond.”

For more information on the services offered by The Center for Youth, click here.

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