Local youth center receives $1M from state toward new building

[anvplayer video=”5193432″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rochester Teen Empowerment is giving Rochester’s youth a new place to be inspired. The program is packing up its current location and moving across the street.

Teen Empowerment has been renting space on Genesee Street since 2009, and now they have the chance to finally get their own building.

Teen Empowerment is a place where youth across the region can go to be supported in their dreams, as well work to create peace, equity and justice. But, they’ve outgrown their current building.

“We just want to have the space to be able to house everybody safely and be able to have really fun, powerful, safe, consciousness raising, community events and a place that young people feel good about,” Executive Director of Rochester Teen Empowerment Doug Ackley said.

The center will be located just across the street from their old location on Genesee Street.

“One of the things this has really allowed us to do is anchor ourselves right in the center of this community in between two major schools with other schools down the street. So, this corridor right here on Genesee Street has an incredible amount of youth traffic. And we’ve got young people coming in and out all the time,” Ackley said.

Max-Yamil Cabezudo-Brown used to be one of those kids and now he’s applying to work for the organization.

“I think it would definitely be an outlet for, you know, get away from school. There would be a study space or a music space. So, you know, if they want to record, make music. Yeah, just keep opperating, doing what TE does best, you know, uplifting youth and give them a voice,” Cabezudo-Brown said.

All together, this project will cost $4.5 million. And, it needs another $500,000. On Monday Teen Empowerment was awarded $1 million through the state with the help of Senator Jeremy Cooney. This will help get the amenities into the space, as requested by the youth.

“And they talked about beautiful outdoor space, which we’re creating at the new center. They talked about a music recording studio and the ability to have larger events space. And, so we’re putting that in there. They talked about a historical library to understand, you know, the roots of our community and activist movements that have taken place in the past.” Ackley said.

The new space will be rebranded the Barack and Michelle Obama Youth Center at Teen Empowerment. A generous donor was given naming rights and hopes the Obama’s accomplishments inspire the kids who go there.

The plan is to break ground on October first.

You can get more information or donate here.