Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Greeting everyone!!

If you are looking for voting information for the Youth Center's refresh everything grant, you've come to the right place!

You can vote THREE (3) TIMES each day for The Center:

Once online: http://www.refresheverything.com/nwyouthcenter

Once by facebook: Search for the "Pepsi Refresh Voting App" and install the app. Then search for "Northwestern Community Youth Center" or even just "Northwestern" to find us!

Once by text: Text 102945 to 73774

If you have ANY questions about voting, how to vote, etc, PLEASE e-mail me at ncycdirector@gmail.com or leave a comment on here, and I'll help you out!

ALSO, if anyone wants to vote, but doesn't have a computer - there is a computer set up in the entryway of The Center for refresh voting purposes! Please feel free to stop in, see what we're doing, and vote!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

So What's This Pepsi Refresh Grant Thing, Anyway?

What is Pepsi's "Refresh Everything" Project?

Pepsi is giving away 1.3 million dollars a month to organizations dedicated to doing good in their communities and across the country. Each month, up to 1000 applications are accepted starting at midnight (and for the October voting period, ending by 12:03am!) for different categories - Health, Arts and Culture, Food and Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods, and Education. Organizations can enter for 4 different levels of funding - $5,000, $25,000, $50,000, and $250,000.

Each month, Pepsi awards:
10 - $5000 grants
10 - $25,000 grants
10 - $50,000 grants
2 - $250,000 grants

The Center is in the running for a $50,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Who Determines the Winners?
You do! Well, you and everyone else in American with access to a computer or texting-enabled cell phone and a desire to help local organizations continue to help others! We will post voting information as soon as it becomes available to us. Voting will open at 6am on Oct. 1 for our voting period, and end at midnight on Oct. 31. Even if we don't win, the top 100 non-winners roll over to the next month and be eligible for voting again.

Please pass along the link to our event - http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=126695560713759&ref=mf - and our group - http://facebook.com/nwyouthcenter - on facebook to EVERYONE you know! Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your friends' neighbors, and your neighbors' friends! We will need ALL the votes we can get to win!

What Happens if we Win?
If we win, we will be able to finance a number of improvements to The Center

*New Study Area
If we win, we will be renovating a room upstairs, away from the noise and distractions of The Center, where students who are riding the activity bus home, going to journey or lightforce, need a little extra help, or just want to get their homework done can do their work. Use of this area will not be madatory, though it will be heavily encouraged.

(Future quiet study area)

We estimate this room will require a little under half of our grant funding to renovate - we need to re-do the drop ceiling and insulate the room so it will be warmer in the winter, as well as adding heating and lighting. We also would like to put down some nice carpeting and add some comfortable workplaces for students as well as some couches and chairs for a quiet free-reading area.

If we win, the study area will also become the home of 10 new internet-ready computers with SAT/ACT prep software, language software, and other eduational software. We would also use some of the grant funds to upgrade our internet to support a 20-computer network.

Another addition to the study area, would be several bookshelves of age-appropriate, recent, young adult reading material. Many of our books in the downstairs area are outdated or are geared towards younger teens and children. Grant funds would be able to be used to fund a small library area where students would be able to enjoy free-reading.

*New Bathroom
Grant funds would also be used to renovate our old bathroom, which is currently closed off to students. This bathroom would be upgraded to be handicap accessible, and would get new flooring, a new paint job, and various other small projects that need to be completed.

*Additional Funding for Summer Learning Opportunities
Grant funds would provide additional support for our Summer Park Program at the Albion Boro Park for students entering grades K-6.

Grant funds would also provide for a new summer learning program for Middle and High school age students. Right now, we're looking into a weekly or bi-weekly program which would get students outside the Albion area to discover some of the interesting things around and near Erie County - for example, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, to see the Niagara, or to visit a museum or planeterium - and then go to the Peninsula for a picnic lunch and some beach time! As with everything else The Center offers, this would be an optional event - but a whole lot of fun!

*Add New Recreational/Programming to The Center's Drop in Program
If we win, we would be able to work with several groups who are unable to totally donate their time, but would be willing to give us discounted rates - many students have requested hip-hop dance classes, or would like to have additional arts and crafts supplies and instruction. We would also be able to add new video gaming equipment, new pool sticks, and other small things that we need. Another thing that has been requested is a volleyball net for the basketball court. We will look for more student input on what you guys would like once the grant is won!

While a lot is still up in the air, this grant would provide many many many wonderful opportunities to the students in the Northwestern School District!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fair Time!

Hey folks!

With Fair Time rapidly approaching, I'd just like to toss out a quick reminder to the youth center students that we need your Parental Permission forms back by Friday, Sept. 10! We need to start issuing ID cards, and we can't give you yours until your permission form is back (and you won't be allowed in without your card once we issue them!).

Also - We are looking for interested students who would like to ride on the center's float in the parade or walk alongside to hand out candy! If you are interested in helping, please let me know ASAP!

See ya at The Center!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

General Youth Center Information

This is a copy of the letter sent home to students participating in our drop-in after school program. If you are a parent, and have not received this letter or your student's permission slip, please ask your student for it - they've all received them!

The Center - General Information - Drop In After School program


The Center’s drop-in program is open to students entering grades 6-12 who live in the Northwestern School District.


All youth center participants must return the parental permission form (see attached) to be allowed to participate in the drop-in program at The Center. Students must also fill out our Student Registration form during their first visit.


Students will be assigned an ID card after the return of their parental permission form. They may leave this card at The Center, or they may choose to carry it with them. Please discuss with your student which option is right for them. This card will be REQUIRED to sign in and out during the school year. If a card is lost, a $5 replacement fee will be charged to issue a new one. If for any reason the card reader is down, students will be required to sign in and sign out legibly on a paper form on the front desk with their full first and last name.


Participation in any and all youth center activities is on a voluntary, drop-in basis. Students are permitted to leave one time during the afternoon session. Staff is not responsible for youth when they leave The Center. Please take time to communicate your expectations to your youth as to when they may leave, where they may go, and who they may leave with. If a student is found to be engaging in antisocial behaviors (smoking, fighting, loitering, etc) during their one-out, they will lose this privilege.


The Northwestern School District allows students from The Center to ride the Activity Bus home. This bus picks up around 5:45pm during fall sports season, and 5:15pm for the remainder of the school year. If your youth is planning to ride the Activity Bus, they MUST be at The Center before 4:00pm, after which time they will not be permitted to leave except with an adult to catch the bus. All school rules are to be observed during transportation or students may lose this privilege. Students who have been dismissed (for the day, week, etc) from the youth center due to behavioral issues will not be permitted to ride the activity bus during this time period.


Until the Albion Area Fair (Sept. 14 – 18), The Center is open 2:30-6:00pm. The Center will be closed during the Albion Fair. After the fair, our hours are as follows:

Monday – High School – 2:30-6:00pm

Tuesday – Middle School – 2:30-6:00pm

Wednesday – High School – 2:30-7:00pm*

Thursday – Middle School – 2:30-7:00pm*

Friday – Combined – 2:30-6:00pm

*On these nights, Journey and Light Force (Federated Church youth programs) pick up from the Northwester Community Youth Center around 6:30pm. Students who live in the Albion area should anticipate arriving back at The Center around 9:00pm, and will need to arrange for transportation home. The Center will not be open when students return. For additional information about these programs, or questions about transportation, please call 922-3655.


The Center currently has a computer lab with 10 internet-ready computers (with web filtering software). Students will have access to these computers after school for research or recreation, with homework taking priority. We ask that students limit their time online to a half hour at a time, to allow others to use the computers as well. There is to be no rough-housing in the computer area, and no food and drinks (without lids) are permitted near the computers. A desk has been provided for students to put cups or cans on during computer use. Downloading music or programs is not allowed on youth center computers.

A phone is available on the Director’s desk at The Center. The number is 756-5087. Students are permitted to make and receive phone calls, but they are not permitted to take the phone off the desk, or stretch the cord out the door. We ask that students limit their phone use to less than 5 minutes, unless it is a true emergency. Cell phones are permitted in The Center, as long as students’ ringtones contain no offensive lyrics.


Damaging youth center property, or other students’ property, will not be tolerated. Depending on the severity of the situation, a police report may be filed, and information on the suspect will be provided to them. In any matter regarding vandalism and damages, an incident report will be filled out by a staff member or volunteer to keep a record of such behavior. Parents may be liable to pay for damages. The youth center is a free service, and runs on donations – We expect all students treat our equipment and facility respectfully.


Students may bring their personal belongings into The Center, but they are responsible for them at all times. A table is provided in The Center to collect backpacks/jackets/etc. The Northwestern Community Youth Center is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Bikes/skateboards/etc must remain at the front of The Center.


  1. Respect ALL Staff and Volunteers.

  2. Respect the furniture and equipment.

  3. Respect each other. No fighting/horseplay. No threatening or intimidating other students.

  4. No foul or abusive language. No hate-speech.

  5. No tobacco, alcohol or controlled substances.

  6. Students are permitted to leave ONE time each day. If you abuse this privilege, or use it to engage in antisocial behaviors (fighting, using tobacco/alcohol/controlled substances), you will not be permitted to leave and re-enter.

  7. No “public displays of affection”

  8. Food may only be eaten in the Cafe area at the rear of the Center – no food of any type in the other areas.

  9. Students may not enter the office area or kitchen or use the phone without permission. Please stay out of areas posted as “Adults Only”.

  10. No weapons permitted in the Center (Including pocket knives, lighters, etc.)

Failure to follow these rules will result in the following consequences. Depending on the severity of the offense, steps may be skipped, or your parents may be contacted*:

First offense – Asked to leave for the day

Second offense – Cannot return for one week

Third offense – Cannot return for one month

Fourth offense – Cannot return for one year


Back to School!

The Center started off the 10-11 school year with the addition of 5 computers donated from LECOM, bringing our total number of internet-ready computers to 10! Thank you to LECOM for their generous donation!!

(Our new computer area)

We also opened with a new pool table, a new arts and crafts area, and several new pieces of furniture!

(New Pool Table and our Ping Pong Table)

(New Crafts/Small Group area!)

(Hangout/Movie area #1)

(Hangout/Movie area #2)

We are still desperately looking for a volunteer for our Basketball court!! If you know of someone over 21 who is willing to volunteer - even one afternoon a month, even for a couple hours - PLEASE contact Julie at 756-5087, by commenting on our blog, or by e-mail (ncycdirector@gmail.com).

Our first day back to school, we had 32 students register, and as of today (Thursday), we have over 40 students registered! We're off to a great start!!

See you at The Center!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What We Need - *Updated for Spring!*

I have been asked lately what the youth center's needs are, and I would like to update our previous list, as some of the things we'd needed over winter are no longer an issue!

Volunteer Needs:
*Gym Volunteer - Supervise gym area, enforce behavioral standards, and referee games.
*Community Service Volunteer - Supervise small groups of students in community service activities
*Homework/Mentor Volunteer - Work with students to improve their grades and help guide them through life experiences.
*Digital Photography Volunteer - Supervise small groups of students and instruct them on the basics of digital photography. We will provide the cameras!

We are also looking for volunteers who would be willing to help with sign-in and sign-out, cleaning, music (we have many students who would like to learn an instrument, or who would like to refine their skills, but cannot afford lessons), arts and crafts (we have a kiln and ceramics, but we need someone who can work with the students), and many other interests. Help share your skills with the next generation! Volunteers must be 21+ and have state police and childline clearances. Contact Julie at 756-5087 if you're interested in helping!

Snack Needs:
*Lemonade Mix
*Peanut Butter
*Fresh fruits (bananas, grapes, and apples are always a big hit) and veggies (they love carrots with veggie dip!)
*Chips, pretzels, cookies, or any other 'snack-y' food
*Any homemade treats
*Plates, cups, napkins, paper towels, bowls, and plastic silverware.
*Other snacks (if you have questions, please contact me!)

We are also looking for several people to take turns providing something more substantial on Wednesday and Thursday nights, when many of our students arrive at the Youth Center after school, and stay until they are picked up for Journey and Light Force at 6:30pm. These students won't arrive home until after 9pm. If you would like to sign up for a week, please contact Julie at 756-5087

Material Needs:
*PG-13 or lower used movies - DVD or VHS.
*Books, especially fiction, for teenagers. Used books are welcome!
*Used PS2 video games, memory cards and controllers.
*Any puzzles, games, or craft activites suitable for teenagers
*Ping-pong, Pool, Air Hockey or Foosball supplies
*Crayons, Markers, Construction Paper, Pencils, Pens, Colored Pencils and other art supplies
*Copy paper, Scissors, File folders, Notebook paper (for homework) and other Office Supplies

If you are disposing of exercise equipment, computer equipment, video game consoles, TVs, or any other items you think may be of service to the Youth Center, please consider donating to our center.

Thank you for all of your support! Let's keep up this momentum!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Basketball Court and Student Store are OPEN!

Following the grand opening of our Basketball Court ("The Court") on March 20, many middle and high school students have enjoyed shooting hoops and playing 3-on-3 in The Center's half-court basketball court! Below is volunteer Jamie Arseneault playing a game with Travis and Casey.

The basketball court is still in need of volunteers, and we welcome any adult who has an interest in volunteering with us to contact Julie at ncycdirector@gmail.com or at 756-5087.

In other exciting news, the High School youth council has been able to finally start the student store! A loan from a youth center board member enabled the students to pick up the items needed to start the store. The student store was an idea the high school youth council started talking about back in the fall, and have spent considerable time preparing for. All students involved with store operation attended a training course, and many of them were involved in the group that determined which items would be sold based on a cost breakdown of the items. I'm very proud of my youth council this year - they've done a great job! Keep up the good work guys!

Youth Council members Austin and Joe celebrate their official store opening!

First sale!

Joe shows off a sampling of our product list!

Open House - Sat. March 20, 2010

The Open House on March 20 was a great success! We had between 70-100 people attending, and had entertainment and refreshments, as well as tours of our building and renovations.

Artwork by Kelsey Lauscher

Bulletin Board by Kelsey Lauscher and Mrs. Lauscher

We presented the Connie Lance Center Service Award to Dr. Corder, Mr. Lowther (our landlord), Connie Lance, and the Erie Community Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who attended, made refreshments, helped us clean The Center, and who helped to make this event a reality!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let There Be LIGHT!

Byron Gurnee spent a few hours this afternoon running new electric service to our building! We had a dark start to the afternoon, but Byron was able to get us up and running quickly!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Basketball hoop is UP!

A big THANK YOU to Byron Gurnee and Tom Freeman for getting the basketball hoop up on Saturday in preparation for our Open House on MARCH 20 at 2PM!

I thought you would all enjoy a photographical account of their basketball adventure....pictures are courtesy of Byron Gurnee:
This is Mr. Freeman.

Mr. Freeman has done a lot for the youth center this year, including making the bars for the windows, the caging for the lights, and generally helping all-around with the rennovations!

Finishing touches!

Up it goes!

Who's ready for some hoops!?!
Again, thank you to our dedicated volunteers who put the finishing touches on the court!
Watch for our article on the Open House this week in the Albion News!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Half-court basketball court......coming SOON!


March 20, 2010 from 2PM to 4PM for the opening of our half-court basketball court and our three-year (in this location!) open house!

Our volunteers have been working hard to get everything finished up in time for our annual open house! Come tour our new facilities (kitchen, handicapped bathroom and gym), see our improved cafe area, and visit our board of directors! We will be dedicating the gym in memory of Connie Lance, a board member who passed away this summer. Connie was an integral part of obtaining the grant from the Erie Community Foundation that allowed us to do all of the construction we've done in the past year.

For now, enjoy some pictures of the latest construction on the gym - our lights are up, and the mesh covering is over them to protect them from basketballs!

If you haven't been by, feel free to swing in and see what we're doing here!


Weekly update and card reader news!

Happy Monday, all!

For those of you who weren't aware, I was out most of last week with the flu. Thankfully, Dr. Corder and Mr. Sembower covered the youth center on Thursday in my absence! I am feeling much better this week, and we are back to our normal schedule at The Center (M,W,F - High School and T,H,F - Middle School) with Journey and Light Force pickups continuing as normal.

Saturday was a quiet, but fun, elementary school day. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and keep your eyes out for our announcement of the March elementary school day! Sunday, I spoke at the Federated Church in East Springfield to encourage community members to volunteer. We are ALWAYS in need of volunteers! If you would like to help, please call Julie at 756-5087.

We are still collecting Health Kits or health kit supplies for Haiti. We are attempting to partner with some local businesses in our effort, and we will update you as soon as we have more information!

And now, for the card reader update!!!

We will be starting to print ID cards THIS WEEK!!! If you aren't sure what you need to have in order to get your ID card, please see Julie. AFTER MARCH 1, 20101 WE WILL NO LONGER BE SIGNING IN AND OUT ON PAPER. After this time, you will be required to use your ID card to scan in and out. New students will need to see Julie for registration details. The card reader system has taken a little longer to get up and running than we anticipated, but it will be worth the wait!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Health Kits for Haiti

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to bring you our latest outreach project from the NCYC - Health Kits for Haiti! We are joining in this effort along with Springfield Elementary and several local churches.

Students will be supplied with a list of donations needed for the health kits, and will be asked to bring in whatever supplies they can. We will be assembling the kits at The Center, and are encouraging adults to help out as well! Adults are welcome to stop by The Center to help students put the kits together, and are encouraged to bring in supplies, donations, or fully constructed kits to help with our project!

So what do we need for the kits? Well, I'm glad you asked!! Here are the guidelines for Health Kits:

Place these items inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag.
*1 hand towel (15" x 25" up to 17" x 27", No kitchen towels)
*1 washcloth
*1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
*1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
*1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz. and up)
*1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper, No child-size brushes)
*6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages
*$1.00 to purchase toothpaste (NOTE: We are now purchasing toothpaste in bulk to be added to health kits before shipping to ensure that the product does not expire before they are sent.)

Important Kit Assembly Information
*All items included in kits must be NEW items.
*All emergency kits are carefully planned to make them usable in the greatest number of situations. Since strict rules often govern product entry into international countries, it is important that kits contain only the requested items-nothing more.

Please feel free to drop by The Center with completed kits or donations, or just to help out!

Parents, watch for the supplies list to be coming home with your student(s) THIS WEEK!

-Julie, Director

Monday, February 8, 2010

Note for students Monday 2/8 and 2/15

Hey folks,

Remember, the Youth center will not be open today Monday 2/8 due to no school. We will be open tomorrow for Middle and High School students. There will also be no after-school programming on 2/15 for the same reason.

Monday (2/8) Closed
Tuesday (2/9) Combined
Wednesday (2/10) High School
Thursday (2/11) Middle School
Friday (2/12) Combined

Monday (2/15) Closed
Tuesday (2/16) Combined
Wednesday (2/17) High School
Thursday (2/18) Middle School
Friday (2/19) Combined

See ya tomorrow!


Spring Cleaning....A little early!

This past Saturday (Feb. 6) board members and volunteers joined together to give the Youth Center a good Spring cleaning and repair a few things. One of the main improvements that occurred this weekend is running water in the kitchen! Byron was able to get our new sink all set up, and we will now be able to make drinks for students on-site (kool-aid, gatorade, lemonade, etc) without having to spend as much money. We were also able to get hand sanitizer, soap, paper towel and toilet paper dispensers hung. We are making progress on the gym, and hope to be able to open soon (thanks to the donation of gym padding from the Federated church)!

In addition to the ongoing renovation projects, we also had a team of volunteers who re-assembled our fallen pool table, mopped, swept and vaccuumed the floor, cleaned the windows, cut new carpet for the entryway, rearranged equipment, and overall gave the place a thorough scrubbing!

Here are some post-cleaning pictures:

A big "THANK YOU!" to everyone who helped! We'll post more pictures soon!
-Julie, Director

Thursday, February 4, 2010

2009 and Looking Forward.....

At the close of 2009, I'm pleased to announce that this year the after school program at the youth center had over 6600 visits from over 250 individual middle and high school students! These numbers are great, and we're already showing improvement over last year. In January 2010, we had an increase of 102 visits over the previous January. Our Elementary Day numbers are starting to escalate as well - the next one is scheduled for Feb. 20

We ended our holiday cereal drive at the beginning of Feb. and the students collected over 50 boxes of cereal. The High School students donated 2 more boxes of cereal than the middle school, so they will receive a pizza party as a reward. We will soon be offering many more community service opportunities, including the Linus Project (making blankets for infants and children), our Community Clean-Up Days starting in March, helping open the park at a local amusement park, as well as continuing community service opportunities inside The Center.

We still REALLY need volunteers!!!! We usually have 30-50 kids a night, and can really use the help!! You don't have to volunteer daily or make a long-term obligation - you can volunteer an afternoon a week, a month, or just whenever you can! If you don't want to volunteer with the kids, but have gifts of repair or baking or pretty much any other skill, please contact me and we'll figure out how you can help!

We've been asked many times for a list of things we need, and I've compiled as complete a list as I can. Please see the following categories to see what we need for each.

Volunteer Needs:
  • Gym volunteer - we're just about to open a half-court basketball court. We need a 21+ volunteer to supervise and officiate pickup games.
  • Sign in/Sign out volunteer - help students sign in and out, make sure all students sign in
  • Student Store volunteer - help the Youth Council by overseeing student store operations
  • Repairs volunteer - with 6600+ students in The Center a year, we always have repair needs.
  • Homework help/Mentor - assist students in grades 6-12 with homework

Snacks and Snack Supplies:
  • Pretzels, popcorn, fresh fruit, baked goods, individually wrapped snacks (chips, cookies, crackers, etc)
  • Gallon jugs of juice, water, or lemonade, bottles of pop, other drinks
  • Peanut butter, jelly (sometimes bread - contact us to find out about this need!)
  • Microwave snacks (ez mac, etc)
  • Paper plates, bowls, napkins, paper towels, toilet paper
  • Plastic silverware and cups
  • Clorox wipes, hand soap, dish soap, germX
  • Rolls of butcher paper
General Use Equipment:
  • Pool sticks/chalk/equipment
  • Ping pong balls/paddles/equipment
  • Foosball balls, air hockey pucks
  • Markers, crayons (washable), notebook and construction paper, scissors
  • Beads, elastic cord, crafting supplies
Used Equipment:
  • Any video game system, or video games for PS2 or Xbox360
  • Old computers/computer parts/computer games
  • Teen-appropriate/oriented books

Please contact me if you have any donations or wish to volunteer! We should have a volunteer calendar up soon!

-Julie Arseneault
Director, NCYC