The Sandpoint Youth Center is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with the mission to provide a positive and enriching after-school environment where Bonner County 12-19 year olds can socialize safely and participate in activities designed to develop leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, and community awareness. Our goal is to help Bonner County youth turn those vulnerable, unsupervised afternoons into a springboard to success, building healthy eating and recreation habits, positive relationships, and learning new skills that will benefit them in the future.
Who We Are and What We Do:
Your donations help to fund healthy food, daily activities and teen mentoring.
The Sandpoint Teen Center shares space with the Sandpoint Church of God at 221 S Division Ave. For Bonner County 7th -12th grade teens, our Teen Center is a safe place to connect with other teens and adults, share nutritious food and have fun learning new skills.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 2:30pm to 5:30pm and Wednesdays at 1:30pm to accommodate early out. The Teen Center provides daily healthy snacks and special hot meals.
Teens not only have fun but gain valuable experience as well. Our Culinary Program teaches teens the basic skills of meal planning, cooking and food handling practices. We also help guide our teens when it comes to making healthy food choices. Teens graduate from the Culinary Program by preparing six meals (with staff help) for their fellow teens, passing our food handling test. We give program graduates a certificate, $25 stipend and support in finding local restaurant work.
There is something for every teen to enjoy at the Sandpoint Teen Center. Activities offered include bowling, ping-pong, board games, arts and crafts, books to read, and outdoor basketball. Our staff shares life skills with teens, facilitates problem solving techniques and provides an ear when the teens need someone to talk to. The Sandpoint Teen Center gives bowling lessons and hosts tournaments weekly at Huckleberry Lanes on Division St across from our main center. Our bowling program offers award certificates and trophies for the most improved bowler weekly.
What is perhaps most intriguing about the Sandpoint Teen Center is our community outreach program. Designed to teach the teens the value of giving back to their community and working together to achieve a common goal, service projects include shoveling snow for homebound locals or raking leaves at assisted living homes.
Respect of one another is important at the Sandpoint Teen Center. We enforce safety and respect policies, such as no bad language, put downs or threats. With our check in and check out policy, we keep track of teens in attendance. We limit the use of cellphones, iPods and other electronic devices. We encourage the importance of personal interaction, problem solving face-to-face and responsible use of technology. We do have a laptop for use on site for such things as; registering with the Department of Labor for job searching, resume help, homework help etc.
Most of our participants at the Sandpoint Teen Center walk to our location from the Sandpoint Middle and High School, Forrest Bird Charter Middle and High School, Lake Pend Oreille High School (LPO) and the Homeschool Academy. The majority of Bonner County teens attend one of these schools. During the 2019-20 school year we averaged 30-50 teens per day. Due to high teen visit numbers we added Fridays starting in January 2020!
We have a dedicated group of staff, volunteers and board members that cook and serve food, organize activities, teach new skills and mentor our teens.
What is next for the Sandpoint Teen Center? In the summer of 2020 we are starting a teen intern program, one week teen summer camp and our monthly summer BBQs. We are eager to see what this fall will look like as the local school districts and after school programs like our adapt to social distancing requirements.
To have input or if you would like to volunteer:
please contact the Program director, Joan Avery, 208-946-1087.