They came together to find a future for a Teen Center in Galt, focusing on making the best choices for Galt’s youth by networking while sharing ideas, at the Chabolla Center last Monday. Thirty Galt residents took the time to invest in the future, including high school Superintendent William Spalding and Mayor Paige Lampson.

Parent of a teen, Mary Jo Schroeder said the group has an important mission.

“It’s very much needed,” Schroeder said. “It was a teen who said to his mom, ‘I’m scared. I have friends who have nowhere to go. They need a safe place.’”

It was another parent of teens, Sarah McFadyen, who got the Teen Center ball rolling. She has voiced her concerns about the lack of activities for teens that sometimes are left with too much time on their hands and turn to drugs and alcohol. Already McFadyen and supporters have obtained the center’s 501c3 nonprofit status as of late July.

But Monday night was a focus on finding out what teens and their parents want and need in a center. Parent Annette Kunze opened the night by welcoming all and guiding the attendees in brainstorming meant to get them acquainted with each other. She said the group plans to visit other teen centers in neighboring cities.

“We hope to use the Human Centered Design Model,” Kunze said. “We want a center that engages, supports, entertains, inspires, nourishes, is inclusive and service-oriented.”

Schroeder said they’re starting small and hope to make good decisions regarding the future teen center.

“This is about the kids,” Schroeder said. “We need a good location. We need to assess what the teens who will show up need with adult supervision in a safe place.”

Galt teen Laura Crosier said a teen center is a great idea.

“I’m actually really excited,” said Crosier, a charter school student.

Arelly Benavidez, 17, a Galt High student, said she wants to be a part of making the teen center a reality. She hopes the center will have “lots of resources” for teens, with counselors who are safe to discuss problems with.

Currently, the group is actively seeking supporters and donations to move the project forward. Next month they are selling Mama’s Homemade Tamales. You may call (209) 329-1663 to place an order or get more information.

The group has a web page and a Facebook page to keep people informed about events and progress on the center at galtteencenter.com and Galt Teen Center on Facebook.