New youth center opens in Shawnee - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

New youth center opens in Shawnee

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The new youth center. The new youth center.
People came to celebrate the opening of the center. People came to celebrate the opening of the center.
Finishing touches being put on the center. Finishing touches being put on the center.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new youth center is now open and reaching out to teens in the Shawnee neighborhood. City Life Shawnee opened Thursday on Market near 41st Street.

Organizers selected October 11 as the date because of symbolic significance. "We wanted to open on 10/11/12 because of the date's progression. We have optimism that Shawnee can only go forward," Director Chad Rehnberg said.

Mentors will be on site to show soon-to-be mothers how to care for their unborn. "I feel like it's going to give them guidance. And point them in the right direction. So many young people don't have that or don't know where to look," Teen Mentor Jasmine Johnson said.

Rehnberg said the center will focus on faith and education as well as preventing drug use and pregnancy. "We do a lot of tutoring. We're going to have tables donated from Buckhead's to have people sit in groups and study math, science and English," he said.

Youth leaders also want to instill an entrepreneurial outlook. "We're focusing on economic literacy. We want students to know how money works and how to work for money. We need to show them how cutting grass could turn into their own lawn company some day, how babysitting could turn into owning a daycare," Rehnberg said.

Renovations and improvements continued throughout the summer in what used to be a vacant building. The cozy, two-story hangout has designer touches: from the chic staircase to modern lighting: the space illuminates a way for teens to see there's a bright future beyond the hard life outside the four walls.

City Life Shawnee is not a city-funded project and it isn't affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club.

Instead, the center is a non-profit, faith-based organization aiming to provide mentoring, counseling and leadership opportunities for at-risk teenagers.

City Life Shawnee is an affiliate of Youth for Christ, a national organization with a chapter in the Louisville-Southern Indiana area.

In August, city leaders were optimistic about the new center, too. "This is about rejuvenation. It's about bringing this neighborhood back," District 5 Metro Council Member Cheri Bryant Hamilton said.

The urban ministry location will also provide support for teen parents and job training.