The Dixon Teen Center is growing, adding after school enrichment programs to its already extended after-school hours free of charge for all 7-12 grade Dixon students.
The Teen Center is open Mon-Thurs 3-6 p.m., and Fri-Sat 6-11 p.m. weekly.
The weekday program already includes peer and professional tutoring, homework incentive punch cards with rewards for each piece completed, healthy after school snacks, as well as a "snack shack" filled with treats kids can earn or buy.
The center also offers a computer lab, video games and activities such as basketball and dodgeball, birthday celebrations and more.
The weekend evenings allow for kids to relax, enjoy free food, a D.J., cookouts and field trips, along with all of the weekday amenities.
Program Director Jamie Myers wants parents to know safety is the most important priority at the Teen Center.
"There are rules and boundaries, and a minimum (of 1 adult to 15 children) to keep watch and enforce them," Myers said. "No bullying, no drugs or alcohol, no backpacks, outside food and drinks are allowed inside the center - they are secured in a separate area.
"No PDAs, and if children are suspended from school they lose their privilege of visiting the center." Although she explains there has never been an issue, these safeguards are for deterrent purposes.
"We encourage academics, character and citizenship above all," said Meyers, "This is a positive place for kids to come hang out, ask for any help they may need and most of all gives them a place to be entertained."
The Dixon Teen Center is an non-profit organization governed by an advisory board of eight active community members, including Police Chief John Cox, Dixon School Board Administrator Jesus Contreras as well as members from Rotary, Kiwanis Club, Dixon churches and more.
Board members work closely with schools, the library, Dixon Family Services and the police department. Officers patrol the area during release time and have even been known to come in and socialize with the kids, playing a round of pool during their breaks.
The ultimate goal is to keep the teen center free to visitors.
Meyers spends her own time attending grant writing classes to continually apply for state and federal funding as well as donations from local corporations, and people like local PGA golf star Nick Watney.
Over the last two years, the teen center has expanded from an all-volunteer operation open only on weekends to four part-time employees who keep the center open six days a week. During the weekdays, the center averages about 25 kids a day and between 85 and 100 on weekends.
The future is exciting for the Dixon Teen Club. Along with planned enrichment workshops like Building Healthy Relationships, Recognizing Bullying, Computer Troubleshooting, Behavioral Character, and Rebuilding, the board hopes to one day offer expanded guidance counseling, assistance with job interviews and resumes, college planning, English as second language tutoring and more.
"We always need more volunteers," Meyers said. "They keep us open. We need people who would like to tutor any subject, work the snack shack, weekend nights especially, but after school as well. We would also love to hear ideas on workshops you might like to teach."
Donations are greatly appreciated as well, whether its money, prizes for the kids or gift cards. The teen center currently works under the Dixon Family Services 501-C3 non-profit tax ID, however their paperwork will finish processing for their own soon.
The center is located in the old Dixon High School small gym, 455 East A Street. Look for currently updates information on the center at http://www.facebook.com/DixonTeenCenter, or call (707) 676-5106. Parents must accompany teens for their first visit to sign them in.