GLASGOW — Glasgow High School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning for the opening of its new youth service center. It was one of 28 new centers opened across the state.
“In our district, we have family resource and youth service centers in all of our other schools,” said Autumn Hardin, coordinator for the GHS youth service center. “So we’re excited about having the opportunity to continue to meet student needs at the high school level.
“Our main goal is to remove non-academic barriers. At the high school level, some of the needs are different, but they’re still just as great, and so we’re looking forward to being able to serve students here.”
The 28 new centers represent roughly 33,225 students who now have access to family resource and youth service center services, said Tina Cook, director of the youth service center at Glasgow Middle School.
Sherrie Baughn-Martin, the regional program manager for the division of Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, said the Glasgow Independent youth service coordinators from both elementary schools and GMS have been requesting a youth service center at the high school for years, and now they finally had the funding to make it happen.
“This has been a long time coming, and we are so proud and so excited that Glasgow High School now has a youth service center,” she said, adding that the program is designed to provide a link between home, school and the community. “We’re not just talking about financial or economic needs. We’re talking about things that impact kids today — abuse of social media, bullying, mental health issues, which are just growing astronomically — the rate of adolescent suicide has been doubling every year for the past few years, so we’re needed more than ever.”
Baughn-Martin said high school kids have “really unique needs as they’re struggling to learn who they are and learning how to be successful adults just with all the things that they face and have to deal with.”
“Anxiety among high school students has exploded,” she said. “Depression, other mental health issues, drug and alcohol use, peer issues, sexuality issues — so there’s just so much need at the high school. We’re just really thrilled that we could have a center.”
GHS Principal Amy Allen said Stacy Jessie, GIS food service directer and grant writer, and Chad Muhlenkamp, GIS director of pupil personnel, safety coordinator and facilities coordinator, “spearheaded the effort” to get this youth service center with a long application process that required a lot of time, data and effort.
She said the youth service center will “help our students so much as far as removing barriers for them, giving them multiple opportunities, supporting our staff and our students,” so that students can be successful in the school building, “and not have to worry about some things that are outside.”
“They provide everything from school supplies, clothing — they help students find part-time jobs,” Allen said. “They help to give (students) skills that will make them employable. They provide classes on reducing stress and dealing with anxiety and study habits and effective communication.”
The youth service center will also do outreach programs to families, “to help support the family core,” Allen said, adding that Hardin will help students who are wanting to volunteer and give back to the community. “She helps set those things up, so it’s for all students and not necessarily just one pocket of kids.
“We are just thrilled and elated for this opportunity.”