Opening of the first youth center of its kind in Fargo – InForum

FARGO – “Go big or go home is my motto, so we dream big,” Faith Shields-Dixon said as she walked through her 37,000 square foot facility next to CVS on North 19th Avenue, in front of the Fargodome.

She’s about to watch some teenagers across the subway chasing their dreams.

“We need to have a place for them, it’s essential,” she said.

She transforms her daycare into a learning center for middle and high school students. In addition to tutoring and mentoring, the After School Matters community center will offer a range of programs; dance lessons, a music studio, a recording studio, a computer lab, an art studio and cooking classes. The center partners with local businesses to deliver the courses.

“We’re the face, but these organizations, these small businesses, are the ones that actually do the work, we just give them space (and) we give them the vision,” Shields-Dixon explained.

She said the idea for the project came about after research showed that around 15% of the BIPOC community in Fargo and West Fargo is underserved in some ways. The community center will be open after school hours until 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and Saturday noon to 7:00 p.m. The center will turn into a nightclub on Friday and Saturday evenings. The hours for college students are from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to midnight for high school students.

“We want to be able to have them here in a safe place, to be able to boogie-woogie,” she said.

The community center is funded by grants and donations through its non-profit organization FAITH4HOPE. The center can accommodate 330 students enrolled each month. Most will likely be eligible for free memberships, those who have to pay will likely only have to pay $ 10 per month. A free dinner will be served each evening. Students will also have access to clothing and other necessities that they need at home. Shields-Dixon is working with the Fargo School District on bus transportation.

“We want to be able to make sure that they are able to get what they need, and that they feel like someone, that their life matters,” she said.

“We want them to be able to continue to dream big,” Shields-Dixon said. “I believe the next future stars are going to come out of here, right here at After School Matters.”

The After School Matters community center is slated to open in January. Phase 2 of the project – which includes entrepreneurship, internship and CNA courses – is expected to start in fall 2022.

Donations to Faith4Hope can be done in several ways:

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