The One-N-Ten Youth Center celebrated its grand opening in their new location at 1101 N. Central Ave. Wednesday, after the previous location was destroyed in a fire last year.
The new center is 5,000 square feet, approximately twice the size of the previous location. It features a music room, classroom space, newly donated technology and hammock chairs that hang from the ceiling. One-N-Ten supports LGBTQ+ youth, offering programs and resources.
“We are able to serve more youth with more resources in a more convenient location here,” Linda Elliott, executive director of One-N-Ten said.
Travis Shumake, development director of One-N-Ten, said six computers which were lost to the fire have been replaced with 24 brand new laptops donated by community members. Twelve guitars, eight pianos and two drum sets were also donated, contributing to the center’s new music room.
While community members toured the new space they were able to participate in activities like planting succulents in the youth center’s terrarium, taking photos at the photo booth and playing instruments in the music room.
Prayer flags from the original center hung in the center of the room. Kado Stewart, programs director at One-N-Ten, said the flags were one of the only items they were able to save from their previous youth center after the fire.
“Those are really important to us, because we’ve spent the past six years going on trips out in the wilderness, putting our dreams and our hopes and our aspirations onto those flags and hanging them at the highest part of our camp,” Stewart said. The fact that they were untouched “just speaks volumes, energetically, for what our young people mean to our space.”
The event also featured several performances by youth in the program who shared their stories about the impact One-N-Ten has had on them.
“Without One-N-Ten I would not be the person I am today,” youth program member Juno Baier said. “I would not be as proud. I would not be as confident. I would not be here today.”
Baier played the ukulele and performed a cover of the song “House of Gold” by Twenty One Pilots and afterward, they spoke about the impact of the program.
“I think it has changed the lives of hundreds and thousands of queer kids in Arizona and I don’t think it’s stopping anytime soon,” Baier said.
Another youth performer, KJ Williams, performed a spoken word poetry piece to music.
In her poem she said, “Together we are the root of this cause. A cause that does not dismiss our neighbor but rather one that fights in their favor.” Her favorite line was the last: “We are here, we are queer and we are not going anywhere.”
Williams said that she thought the new location was more central and easily accessible, especially to the homeless youth in the area.
“Having it in Parson’s Center, as a whole, really helps validate how big the community really is,” Williams said.
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