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Davis Journal

Teen center provides services for most vulnerable students

Sep 30, 2022 10:59AM ● By Becky Ginos

Mountain High students Kamren Holmes and Zephyr Finlay cut the ribbon on the new Teen Resource Center that opened at the school last week. The center will provide at-risk students in need, including those experiencing homelessness with a safe place to go. Photo by Becky Gino

KAYSVILLE—At-risk students at Mountain High, an alternative school in Davis School District, will now have access to services they need at a new Teen Resource Center that opened at the school last week. It is the fourth to be completed in the district.

“Great people are doing great things for kids,” said Mountain High Principal Greg Wuthrich at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “This isn’t just a district thing—it’s a community thing.”

There are 202 students here, he said. “But as they bring more we grow as we go through the year. Twenty-five percent are ethnic minorities and we have three unaccompanied minors.”

There’s a great need here, he said. “This is an amazing resource. We’re used to opening the cupboard and finding a stack of clean towels. Not everybody has that. This provides full wrap around services including a room for young mothers.”

Teen Centers offer students a place to shower, launder clothing, access basic essentials, eat and work one-on-one with counselors. The Renaissance Academy next to Mountain High already has a center that serves the students there who are youth in care. Centers are also open in Clearfield and Northridge. Two more are under construction at Layton and Woods Cross. Funds are being raised for three more centers at Bountiful, Syracuse and Viewmont.

“I have a special spot in my heart for these young people,” said School Board President John Robison. “In 1968 I was 19 years old and my brother was 15. My father had just died and my mother had died nine years before. We were heading home from the hospital and didn’t know what we were going to do that night and especially the next day. We don’t know the depth of what some young people are experiencing. When they walk in with that hopeless feeling this can help tremendously.”

If it benefits one kid it’s worth it, he said. “It doesn’t just benefit him or her but in the future they’ll become an advocate to support future facilities like this.”

“We know lives are changed every day,” said District Superintendent Dr. Dan Linford. “This gives us a chance to change even more lives.”

Davis High students raised $32,000 during their holiday fundraiser to help construct Mountain High’s center.  

“What we all need is family,” said Jennifer Christensen, Teen Center coordinator and social worker. “That’s not necessarily the home you were born in. In a world of hard things that don’t go right – this goes right.”

 Mountain High has the most McKinney-Vento (homeless) students, she said. “Fifty-nine students have already walked through these doors. They’re coming in and feeling safe, someplace you can take a breath and feel like you’re home. That’s what we want these kids to do.”

They have a lot of things they can’t carry alone, said Christensen. “We want to support them and help them carry those things so they can grow up and become the people they are destined to be.” λ