The Kyle Hyland Foundation for Teen Support will be holding open houses today and tomorrow at the new location of its teen center. Volunteers can sign up and provide input on the amenities they would like to see.
The foundation has been working to establish a teen center in town since Benicia High School junior Hyland’s death by suicide in 2014. The center, according to Hyland’s mother Barbara Gervase, would fill two voids in Benicia: giving teenagers a place to hang out and providing support for teens dealing with stress or anxiety.
In December, the organization found space for the center in a building behind Gateway Church on Military West. The open houses will allow attendees to view the space before its official opening in late January and for volunteers to contribute ideas for what kinds of programs, food and games they would like to see.
“We’re encouraging adults to come as well as teenagers ages 13 to 19 for any future openings they might have,” board member Deirdre Cruz said.
There will also be light snacks and different areas for teen volunteers to sign up.
“The volunteers who work with teenagers will need to do background checks, so we will be taking some information about that,” Cruz said.
Cruz also noted that the center is not asking people to come with donations.
“We’ll definitely have a donation jar,” she said. “As far as any kind of furniture or games, we’re going to hold off on that. We have some already, but they could bring a photograph of something they have that maybe they would like to donate.”
Cruz said the center will only be able to be open with adult volunteers until the foundation gets funding to hire a permanent counselor to run the center.
“We definitely need the community support financially as well as time to make this happen,” she said.
The open houses will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight and 10 to noon tomorrow at the center, located at 1315 Military West. For more information on the center, the Kyle Hyland Foundation or to donate to the organization’s YouCaring campaign, visit KyleHyland.com.