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2015 Interns Present at PACT Town Hall

Filed in Community/PACT, Events, Internships, Uncategorized, Youth by on October 30, 2015 • views: 554

2015 internsMore than 60 people from all parts of the Pelham community – including town officials, parents and a number of Pelham teens – attended PACT’s October 21 Town Hall at Daronco Town House. The focus of the Town Hall was a presentation by PACT’s 11 high school interns. This past summer, the interns studied the feasibility of the community creating a dedicated public space for teens.

After an introduction by PACT director Virginia Hartmere, each of the interns spoke about different aspects of a potential teen center and how each might be realized; their ideas included having the center offer peer tutoring, Internet and gaming technology, a student art studio, cooking classes, a music and theater program and sports. They also addressed how such a center might be managed with a combination of teen and adult leadership – and which organizations in Pelham might be in a position to help. The full group presenting included: Joseph Catalano, Eanya Lian C. Dychauco, Ashley Flores, Linda Jaimes, Alexander Kougasian, Arielle O’Connor, Elody Paulino, Karla Pennetta, Ascensy Perez, Leana Rutt and Ramon Velez, Jr.

audience shotThe conclusions the interns came to were summarized at the end of the presentation by O’Connor. “One physical space for the Youth Center would be ideal to hold all of these proposed projects, but what would be feasible for the time being is to hold the activities in rotating spaces that cater to the specific activities,” she said. “Programs that we found to be the most feasible for the time-being would be the Peer-Tutoring, Peer-Led Activities, Art, Music and possibly Sports. We also found that programs such as Cooking Classes and Technology would be the least realistic because initial funds would be limited, as well as space and time. To make this happen, the Pelham Government would need to help with funding, as this would become community property. Various fundraisers held by PACT would also aid in costs that would arise from creating this Youth Center. With the support of the community and government, a Youth Center for teens could soon become a reality and a mainstay for years to come that would not only provide a haven for Pelham’s youth, but enrich the lives of students.”

VirginiaAfterward, attendees broke into four roundtables, facilitated by the interns and attended by other teens, with each table focused on a different topic. The four topics were:

  • Finding a physical space for a teen center;
  • The roles and responsibilities of students and adults in running a center.
  • How to establish partnerships between students and local resources.
  • The roles both adults and youth need to play if student organized programming will work.

PACT is currently putting together task forces that could help make the teens’ dream a reality. Visit PACT’s website — and like us on Facebook — for periodic updates on the process and next steps. If you’re interested in volunteering, email

PACT is a community coalition encouraging youth to make healthy, safe and substance free choices and empowering our community to provide a protective and nurturing environment.

Photo credit: Samuel Candido


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