Monday, Feb. 26, dozens of Eaton Rapids locals attended an open house at the Union Street educational building where they could go on brief tours of the new Eaton Rapids Teen Center while enjoying snacks and conversation. Through the specially designated entrance, visitors entered into a large room with a stage, couches, and a kitchenette space. There they were greeted by Aron Dubois, the recently hired Teen Center director.

The enthusiasm in the room was both subtle and boiling over. Dubois and various members of the teen center board eagerly waited visitors, and took turns giving tours and explaining the vision for the center. While the center currently entertains three rooms, each room has its own purpose. The largest room where visitors entered was the main space, which will likely be the center of group activities, the study room equipped with laptops, and a mostly empty activities room.

The study room, which is a shared space with the community backpack program, and the activities room are currently quite scant, and indeed not the most flattering in terms of esthetic, but Dubois has high hopes. He sees many possibilities for both, especially as the teens start coming in the next weeks and months. While he has vision for the spaces, his primary goal is to shape the rooms’ purposes according to what the teens need and want.

Programs, workshops, clubs, and study groups are all in store for the teen center. The Feb. 26 open house was only a preview of the months of progress and planning, but the official opening of the center is Monday, March 5. Teens will the run down of the center and the hopes for what it can be in the first week. Dubois hopes the center will take off from there.

Since the center is opening close to the middle of the spring semester, the board will determine the center’s availability during the summer months according to how the first weeks and months go. The sky is the limit for the newly opened Teen Center, but it first needs the teens’ enthusiasm, and volunteer support.

To learn more about the Eaton Rapids Teen Center hours and opportunities readers can visit the Eaton Rapids Area Teen Initiative Facebook page.