Fifth Teen Center opens at Layton HighOct 07, 2022 12:21PM ● By Becky Ginos
Layton High student body officer Todd Bowden gets the scissors ready to cut the ribbon on a new Teen Center at the school that opened last week. This is the fifth center to open in the Davis School District. Photo by Becky Ginos
LAYTON—What started out as one Teen Center at Clearfield High has now grown to five with the latest opening last week at Layton High. Three other centers recently opened at Mountain High, Northridge and Renaissance Academy and a sixth will soon be completed at Woods Cross High.
Teen Resource Centers serve at-risk students, some experiencing homelessness, by providing a quiet place to study, do laundry, shower, eat and meet with counselors who can connect them with the services they need to be successful in school.
The Connection Center at Layton High was built in a repurposed space inside the school so students can access the facility before and after school or as part of their class schedule. The center also has a full community food pantry. Layton High students raised more $60,000 for the center.
“Good people are doing good things,” said School Board Vice President Marie Stevenson at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “Students recognized a need. It’s amazing how they’re looking out for their peers. This center will rewrite the story for many students’ lives. It provides acceptance and a place to go when the storms of life are too great.”
Stevenson compared it to an experience she had at Bear Lake. “I came to a stream and it was too wide for me to jump across,” she said. “I noticed a flat rock in the middle of the stream where I could cross by stepping on the stone. I wondered who put that there. I thought about the teen center and how students who have gone before can leave stepping stones so that other students can cross. It will change people’s lives for the better and for the good.”
“The first of the year we went to each business and asked for a donation to get us started,” said student body officer Todd Bowden. “It really brought the school together. It was an important cause to unify the school. It gave me a new perspective on this. I put in a lot of money and my friends put in a lot of money. It’s an important part of the school that will change people’s lives.”
Davis Community Learning Center Teen Center Director Jenica Whitworth started as a family advocate at Clearfield High. “It gives them a safe place to come and tell their story to a trusting adult,” she said. “There are family advocates at each center. They have a bachelor’s degree and are trained in trauma informed practices to hear the students’ story and get them the resources they need. They respond to each student and give them individualized services.”
When the Teen Center at Clearfield High opened we had students who were not looking at a post secondary degree, said Whitworth. “When they came to the teen center they helped them fill out FAFSA forms and made other resources available. Now some are enrolled at Weber State. It’s an amazing trajectory for them and their families.”
There are 33 students at Layton High who are experiencing homelessness. “Student homelessness is a quiet, but pervasive issue in Davis County,” said Jodi Lunt, executive director of the Davis Education Foundation. “These children lack access to the very basic essentials that we all take for granted. Teen centers help to provide students in need with those essentials, while maintaining their safety and dignity. More than anything though, they facilitate hope and connect these kids to a caring adult who can help navigate their challenges.”
“These are the kids I think about when I try to sleep at night and sometimes I feel so helpless,” said Superintendent Dr. Dan Linford. “This teen center will help me not feel so helpless. At Davis School District our motto is ‘we make dreams come true.’ Thanks for helping us make our dreams come true.” λ