North Fargo Youth Center aims to provide new outlet for teens – InForum

FARGO — For local teens looking for something to do after school or on the weekends, they now have another option.

Starting Monday, February 14, middle and high school students can join the After School Matters program at the massive new Faith4Hope Center in North Fargo at 1321 19th Avenue South, just north of the Fargodome.

Businesswoman Faith Shields-Dixon, who previously operated one of her child care centers in the building, said she dreamed of finding a place for teenagers to go where “kids can go forward, not backward.”

“We don’t want them to be in jail or in health care facilities, but we want them to thrive,” she told a group of dinner guests on Friday, February 11. She pointed out that the center is open to all teens, not just those of color.

“My brother and I have been talking about it for at least five years – that young people needed a place to go because sometimes there’s not much to do,” Shields-Dixon said.

The center includes a computer lab that can accommodate 50 students to do homework or research information, an arts and crafts studio, a dance studio, a culinary arts teaching kitchen, a dance floor, classrooms classroom for tutoring or instruction classes, a second-floor training and music recording studio, a clothing store and pantry for those in need, and a classroom and laboratory certified practical nurse.

Some of the guests on Friday were from Essentia Health, which is providing a $37,500 grant to establish the certified practical nurse program for high school students interested in the medical field.

Mayor Tim Mahoney and City Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Terry Hogan were also in attendance, along with representatives from the city’s planning department who helped secure a block federal grant from community development grant of $85,000 to launch the centre.

The mayor said Shields-Dixon came to her with “a dream”, which he said can still be “dangerous when I hear those words” from anyone.

She persisted, the mayor said. And within three months, she and a team of family members and others transformed the building into an engaging center. Much of the construction was done by volunteers Donnell Traylor and Kevin Hill, who noted that the building was also a grocery store and a weight center for NDSU athletes.

The establishment will be open from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, middle school hours ending at 10 p.m.

During this time, students can take lessons or simply enjoy the surroundings, as well as the weekend dances.

The Shields-Dixon family is a big part of the staff. Her husband, Charles Dixon, will offer cooking lessons; his brother, Paul Shields Jr., will provide music lessons in the state-of-the-art recording and music studio; and her sister-in-law, Tekeema Shields, will teach dance lessons, from hip-hop to ballet.

Shields-Dixon said she truly believes “the next star” will make her youth center debut, whether in music, dance or some other field.

Tonnette Brockins, treasurer of non-profit organization Faith4Hope, said the multi-room studio on the second floor was truly something special, with instruction available for guitar, keyboards, drums, piano and vocals. song. There is also a full recording studio.

Brockins said they are still looking for financial help for the center as well as volunteers to help. She said they offer a food rack, every Friday from 1:30 p.m. until the food runs out, which has been a hit, and will be offering free high-quality clothing in this part of the center.

There is a one-time registration fee for students on a sliding scale. Families can apply before students are issued badges to enter the secure facility.

Brockins said there will be security cameras and personnel in the locked building.

“After all, it’s 2022,” Shields-Dixon said.

Hogan, who also helped work on the facility, said he believed the center “would make a difference in the community.”

“There will be a story to tell,” he said.

And it starts next week.

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