CITY OF OGDEN,
TEEN THING PROGRAM
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The Teen Thing program targets youth ages 11 years old through 17 years old residing within the geographic boundaries of Ogden City. The primary focus is for "at risk youth" who are economically disadvantaged, experience poor academic achievement in school, are exposed to high crime rate, come from single parent households and/or who may suffer from low self esteem to participate in a fun and supportive program. We believe that many teens could be channeled away from violence, crime and gang behavior by replacing negative behavior with something interesting, stimulating and fun to participate in.
The program operates at four area middle schools as a collaborative effort between the Marshall White Center and Ogden City School District. The Ogden City School District allows the Teen Thing program to utilize their facilities two hours per day, three times per week. The Marshall White Center houses the weekend drop-in program on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Each facility has a staff of one Site Coordinator and two Recreation Leaders. The Site Coordinator and Recreation Leaders are responsible to establish a structured recreational program and coordinate educational assistance from educators at the school sites.
The young people registered in the Teen Thing Program will have the opportunity to participate in the following activities:
Organized recreation leagues (basketball, softball)
Recreational activities (hiking, swimming, kickball, soccer, golf)
Cultural community events (Cinco De Mayo, Juneteenth, African American luncheon)
Community activities (First Night, Christmas Parade)
Training to become recreation leaders
Serving on the Teen Thing Advisory Board
Community Service projects
Junior Lifeguard Program
2. When was the program created and why?
Developing a program addressing the needs of Ogdenís at risk youth has been a major goal of the Marshall White Community Center. In the summer of 1993, when budgets were tight and resources limited, the Marshall White Center took on the challenge and expanded their programs by creating a new innovative program called the Teen Thing.
The Teen Thing focus is to explore alternative approaches to dealing with gangs. In providing our youth with educational assistance through tutorial programs, self esteem building and encouraging them to become leaders in their communities we have provided our young people with an alternative to a life of crime, drugs and gangs. Our program has offered teens a place to go where they are accepted and where they can feel they belong to a community.
Although these young adults might seem too old for a daycare situation, the Teen Thing program is a great way for them to be with their peers and still be supervised.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
The Teen Thing program requires each student involved to fill out a registration form. When the program first began the number of youth attending was very low. We now have 900 youth registered and consistently attending Teen Thing after school and on weekends. If these youth are in Teen Thing they are less likely to become involved in negative activities.
4. How is the program financed?
At the present time the Teen Thing program operates from a grant obtained from the Enterprise Community and funding from the city of Ogden. We are actively seeking funding from alternative sources.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
The Teen Thing program has developed partnerships with many local businesses, as well as, the school district. We are currently working with a local business to obtain funding for one of our after school sites. Also, we have formed a partnership with America On Line. America On Line will be donating eight CD-ROM computers to the Marshall White Center for the development of a homework lab for our youth.
To participate in the Teen Thing Program, the teens are required to participate in community service projects. To encourage community involvement our the teens involved in the program are exposed to various activities, parents nights and workshops on positive self-image.
6. What are major lessons learned from the program?
We have found that the key ingredient to the Teen Thing program success is to let the youth involved in the program have input in the planning of the program. Therefore, we have developed a Teen Thing advisory board where students, as well as, site coordinators meet and discuss the programís successes and failures.
Also, teens are more likely to successfully complete their high school education when they have tutoring and support with homework. They are more likely to attend school when they have their homework completed and they understand their assignments.
7. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.