Locals renew call for teen center on Escuela

Mountain View teens will discuss their struggles with gangs and violence during a press conference on Saturday afternoon in an effort to rally support for a new state-of-the-art teen center on Escuela Avenue — this time in a newly acquired church there.

The city purchased a church at 263 Escuela Ave. late last month, and Peninsula Interfaith Action, an advocacy group, says they want the property to be turned into a new center.

To gain support for the idea, members of Youth Motivated for Action and Involvement, a subgroup of Peninsula Interfaith Action, will hold a press conference on Saturday, July 25, from 1 to 2 p.m. at the former teen center at 298 Escuela Ave.

Members of the group say they have been pushing the City Council to approve plans for a new teen center for three years. Local youth need a place to hang out after school and on the weekends, they say, especially in light of the gang- and drug-related murders last year.

Council members rejected plans earlier this year to use the city's Senior Center as a teen center at night.

Peninsula Interfaith Action members plan to meet with local elected officials in a second public meeting on July 30 at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Church, 582 Hope Street.


Like this comment
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm

USA is a registered user.

How about closing the Monte Carlo and putting the teen center there?

Like this comment
Posted by Moe
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm

When i was younger the teen center was just a place to go hook up with girls and see gangsters outside how is this suppose to be a good place for children?

Like this comment
Posted by Katherine
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:51 pm

This being Silicon Valley, I want to see empirical evidence that Teen Centers as historically envisioned "work" against gangs and gang violence.

Should we have year-round, all day school (and ensure that everyone attends) so that kids don't have as much slack time without parents? Within labor laws, should we provide innovative ways for kids under 18 to work on the weekends so they can make extra money and stay busy? Should we keep Crittenden and Graham open to provide a "not so quiet" teen library/gym for nighttime and weekends with programs and staff who can speak Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, and other languages? Do we need to provide more support for working parents so that their kids can feel supported and like they "belong"?

We need to spend more time talking with EACH at-risk kid on *why* they do what they do. Talking with EACH kid who have escaped that world on how they did it. Talking with EACH parent of at-risk kids on why they think things have gone wrong. Talking with EACH senior who expresses a NIMBY attitude toward a potential shared senior/teen center to figure out what's given them the impression that kids are nothing but trouble.

It's a slow process, but only then can we figure out what we really need. Figuring out how to better support teachers and counselors in the work they do. Figuring out how we as a community can stop relying on the police to solve everything and start having the tools to say both "not in my neighborhood -- but yes in my neighborhood".

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