PAWS youth center opens

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A new youth center opened in Rochester on Saturday.

It’s called "PAWS," also known as "Prevention Advocacy Wellness Sustainability."

Founder Matt Piccone says his initial goal was to provide a place for pet owners to learn how to take care of their animals without judgment.

But then, he realized he wanted to help children in the community learn important life skills and grow to have successful careers.

"We’re focused on our youth, we’re focused on and committed to a social change movement in our community. We feel that through our youth and through the programs that we’re gonna offer we will be able to lift them up and give them a chance at a really special and unique opportunity to rebuild our community, said Piccone."

Children can’t apply to the program. Instead, Piccone plans to have teachers, coaches or guidance counselors recruit children they think could be a leader.

More information can be found here.

PAWS Mission:

"To bring the resources for heightened awareness and tools for success to youth in city communities and their surrounding areas through various enrichment programs focused around prevention, advocacy, wellness, sustainability, life skills, the arts, and at its core a healthy human-animal bond. In turn, our mission is designed to inspire youth to live up to their full potential in creating an environment promoting confidence and compassion.

PAWS Vision:

"To empower youth to build a brighter future through social change by highlighting prevention, advocacy, wellness, sustainability through various elements, all while inspiring youth to become advocates of positive change and compassion in their own community, and in turn the world."