New youth resource center to open in Toledo
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A new resource center for Toledo area youth celebrated its upcoming grand opening on Monday.
The Stars Collingwood Youth Resource Drop-in Center will provide essentials for students, like a computer lab and a food pantry while offering a place for young people to discuss the issues facing them and their communities.
Elesondra Deromano, the founder and Executive Director of Stars, said the original plan was to open this June but moved up the launch date to April 1 because of the pandemic.
“I feel that this summer is going to be very very bad because the kids have been locked up for a whole year,” Deromano said. “It’s already starting now, so I want them to be able to see that there’s somewhere they can come.”
Stars plans to offer what they’re calling “auntie vibes” and “unk vibes” sessions to give the kids a space to speak freely without judgment.
“We’re not your family, not your probation officers, not mental health workers,” Deromano said. “We’re here to kick it with you and try to find out what we can do for the solution so kids can stop killing kids and so they know they can be safe.”
The Stars program also helps to deter kids from joining gangs. Deromano said she was in a gang as a child and recognizes what puts kids at risk for falling into the wrong crowd.
“I know what you’re looking for when you feel vulnerable,” Deromano said. “You’re looking to be a part of a family. Well, that’s not the kind of family you need to be a part of. So be a part of the stars family. It takes a village.”
Many of their amenities come from donations. The program is encouraging others to donate what they can to help the center and give back to the kids. The official opening day is April 1st, but anyone can drop by to check it out Sundays and Mondays throughout March from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit the stars website.
“It’s about giving these kids hope,” Deromano said.
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