Center for at-risk youth to open doors

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Socorro will have a new resource, beginning in June, for at-risk youth to get help and stay informed – the Socorro County Teen Center.

The center’s manager Michelle Herron said in our community, youth struggle with substance abuse issues, single-parent families, teen pregnancies and more; and all are considered “at-risk.”

“It’s going to be a huge resource that’s needed in our community,” she said.

The classes, which will take place at Finley Gym, are designed for ages 11 to 18 and will focus on everything from job readiness and parenting to anger management and shoplifting.

“We do an intake to find out what is going on in (the teen’s) life and which classes would be suitable for them,” Herron said.

Youth can sign up themselves, or be referred through schools, parents, the Children Youth and Families Department, the juvenile probation office or the sheriff’s department. The classes, which are free, will be offered year-round and, unless court ordered, students can choose to attend as often as they want to.

Herron said a concern she often hears is that there is nothing for children to do in Socorro.

“I’m hoping that even though they’re going to be structured classes, we’re still going to give the kids something to do that they’ll be able to utilize,” she said.

Aside from focusing on the specific subjects, Herron said the classes will teach values and help the students evaluate their own strengths, allowing them to grow and become productive members of the community.

She encourages teens attend even if they’re only involved in an at-risk situation indirectly.

“If a friend or family member is using, (the teen center) is a great resource to learn more about what’s going on,” Herron said.

And she said if needed, the program will incorporate parents who may have substance abuse issues in a separate, adult class.

Classes scheduling will revolve around the needs of those that sign up, and be posted on the on Socorro County Teen Center’s Facebook page.

Herron is said she hopes to get at least a half-dozen volunteers who will help teach.

For those interested in volunteering, or for youth that would like to schedule an intake appointment and inquire about classes, call 835-4357.