NAS teens and youth welcome new buildingNov 1st, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
The Child and Youth Program (CYP) unveiled their new building during a ribbon cutting ceremony on the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) New Orleans Oct. 20.
The CYP provides low-cost before and after school programs for children 5-12 years. They also provide full-day care during holidays and the summer breaks. The facility also boasts a teen center for youth in school ages 13-18.
The push to build a new CYP building has been ongoing since the previous facility at NAS JRB was demolished to build Belle Chasse Academy (BCA). Seander Johnson, the youth director for CYP, said they have had to use one of BCA’ s buildings and the center on Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans that had received severe damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“It’ s been a struggle to meet the policies and requirements in a big open space. We now have classrooms where we can develop the different programs and give the children the attention they need,” she added.
The new center can accommodate up to 100 children, twice the program’s previous capacity.
“ We’ve had a long waiting list for our programs and now we’re going to screen it to allow a lot more children to attend,” said Johnson.
The new facility has five separate rooms for the pre-teens: a homework room equipped with computers; a science discovery room; an art room; a drama room with lots of props and costumes; and a dance room.
The teen center is in a separate area of the building and provides a place to create social clubs, participate in sports programs and a safe place to relax after school. It has a large recreation room with a pool table, big television, couches, tables, individual video game stations, computers and a patio area.
“It was really important to give the teens their own place to be,” said Johnson. “The teen center has been moved three times in the past few years and for the past couple of months they haven’t had a place to go due to building structural problems.”
Johnson said new programs will start after staffing the positions with volunteers and employees.
Construction on the new CYP building began in 2009. The new facility was built to sustain the expected growth at NAS JRB resulting from the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s decision that will close NSA in September 2011.
John P. Curtis
NAS Mass Communication Specialist