The northeast kingdom community action Teen Center is a hub for at-risk youth in the Newport area. For more than a decade, the center has provided at-risk 12- to 21-year-olds with a place to use computers, play games, get a hot meal, and access services such as employment and substance-abuse counseling. It's open five afternoons a week, year-round. But that may soon change.
Due to cuts in federal funding, the center could close before the end of the year. It's already had to scale back services, says teen center coordinator Allyson Howell. In early July, she brought kids together with state and local law-enforcement agents to play basketball and chat, just to get to know each other. She says she's unable to plan anything like that in the foreseeable future: "I can't buy food and print off flyers anymore."
The organization has applied for grants and is thinking creatively about how it might partner with other agencies. Additionally, NEKCA has launched a GoFundMe campaign to keep the doors open. "This place needs to be sustained," says Howell.