New Downtown YMCA Will Be Geared Toward Teens

Photo: The YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in Downtown Berkeley, which is slated to open in the fall, will be dedicated to serving local teens.
Kevin Hahn/Photo
The YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in Downtown Berkeley, which is slated to open in the fall, will be dedicated to serving local teens.

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A new YMCA is slated to open in Downtown Berkeley this fall, the first in the city dedicated solely to offering teen outreach programs.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center took place Feb. 2. The location was a PG&E service center before the utility company donated the space.

"It's going to offer resources that weren't offered in the past," said Chris Wang, an El Cerrito High School senior and member of the Teen Center Task Force, which is spearheading construction and development of the center.

The center, to be located at 2111 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, will offer college preparation services, job training and leisure events and activities, according to Tracy Hanna, executive director of the center.

Hanna added that one of the aims of the center will be to contribute to the Berkeley Unified School District's 2020 Vision Plan. The center will be located one block from Berkeley High School.

According to Fran Gallati, President and CEO of the Berkeley YMCA Metropolitan Office, the center recognized that "there are key areas where we know teens in the community have a need" and chose "to focus on kids in high school."

The task force, which is composed primarily of high school students, was created to give teenagers the opportunity to build and eventually to run the center, Gallati said. The task force interviewed architects to design the center and recommended one architect, who was selected.

Wang said the center will try to remain accessible by keeping costs down through private donations. He added that the recession has impacted the amount of money they were able to raise, and that features previously included in the plan had to be cut.

Hanna said this new branch of the Berkeley-Albany YMCA is "meant to show that the Y is not just a gym, but offers academic programs and services to all members of the community."

Contact Hannah Moulthrop at [email protected]

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