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Opinion

The Teen Center, operated by Port Washington Youth Council at the Landmark on Main Street, is in dire straits. Despite continued outcries for a place for youth, the Teen Center is on the verge of collapse due to lack of interest and support from the community at large. Everyone says there is a need, but not enough people are willing to take the action to fill that need.

This year more children than ever representing a wide spectrum of economic, academic and ethnic backgrounds used the Teen Center as a safe haven on weekdays and weekend evenings. This success, however, comes at a price, both in terms of money and personal involvement. At the end of May the board of directors of the Port Washington Youth Council took the necessary step of closing the doors of the Teen Center and laid off its staff until September. It ran out of money and needed to preserve its cash to have any hope of running a program in September. Some generous members of the community have responded to our plea for funding by sending contributions of varying sizes. Some have been extraordinary, in our view. To them we are extremely grateful.

Unfortunately, money is not our only problem. Stuart Lucks and Larry Tietz, our current co-presidents, have both served previously as president and been with the board for many years, as has most of the board. They have declined to continue in that role. New people have stepped up, but it is not enough. More must come forward so the burden does not overtax the small numbers of people who have persevered to get the Teen Center successfully off the ground.

While the students most in need of the Teen Center have the fewest advocates, all children in this vulnerable age group benefit. The Teen Center has sports programs, drama programs, field trips to athletic and cultural events, a girl's group and has sponsored programs for parents.

If the Teen Center is to continue, it is time for the citizens of Port Washington to convert their words into action. We need volunteers for the board, to take leadership roles and to participate in decision making as well as for lesser roles in support of our activities. And we need money.

Please call Larry Tietz at 883-5098 to find out what you can do to help.

Help us please

Deborah Miraglia

Youth Council Board Member


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