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 -!/event.php?eid=126695560713759&ref=mf - and our group - - 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 (

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!