Bright Futures for Youth will open new NEO Youth Center near the Nevada County Fairgrounds – YubaNet in early 2022
GRASS VALLEY, California – Bright Futures for Youth will open a new NEO Youth Center on the former Silver Springs High School campus near the Nevada County Fairgrounds, offering extracurricular and occasional weekend activities and events for teenagers in western Nevada County.
The NEO Youth Center at 12338 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley is Bright Futures for Youth’s newest initiative to connect with children and young adults and expand services after a successful six-week Summer Day Camp in Nevada City and a Distance Learning Center on the Nevada County Fairgrounds for the 2020/21 school year.
The new youth center is slated to open in early 2022, after a modest renovation of the premises that will begin in the next few weeks.
“We’re always looking for new ways to connect with young people and expand our mission, and the new youth center is a perfect opportunity,” said Jennifer Singer, executive director of Bright Futures for Youth (formerly The Friendship Club). “The youth center offers teenagers and young adults a place to socialize, make new friends, discover new interests and passions and even get help with their homework in a comfortable and safe environment.”
The youth center is available to 11 to 25 year old residents and offers a long list of activities and events, from art workshops to live music to open mic nights in a supervised setting. Hundreds of teenagers participate in the extracurricular, school, summer, and weekend activities and events of the NEO program each year.
The new NEO youth center will include three mobile buildings, a kitchen, an office area and 6 hectares of sports fields and open spaces, and will offer flexibility and room for growth if required. Bright Futures for Youth leases the campus from the Nevada Joint Union High School District.
“After-school programs are vital, and the NEO Youth Center has been a long-time partner and provider of these much-needed community services for years,” said Brett McFadden, superintendent of the Nevada Joint Union High School District. “We look forward to the opening of the youth center and to giving adolescents and young adults a place to be together.”
The 22nd annual Lights on Afterschool, a national program celebrating after-school programs and their importance in the lives of children, families, and communities, takes place on Thursday, October 28th. The NEO Youth Center is a great example of the role school programs play in a community.
“It is very important to give our teens the opportunity to learn new things and have a safe place after school,” said Zack LaFerriere, school resources officer for the Grass Valley Police Department. “Programs that are supervised and structured by adults increase a child’s wellbeing while eliminating the unsupervised idle time that can create further challenges for an adolescent.”
The previous NEO youth center closed in early 2020 when the Covid pandemic hit, which severely affected gatherings amid health and safety requirements – and just before The Friendship Club and NEO merged. Since then, NEO program participants have used the Distance Learning Center facility and temporarily met in the Bright Futures for Youth building on Litton Drive and some activities were not conducted due to Covid safety guidelines.
“Covid has clearly created a greater need for additional social activities to help children who are feeling isolated,” LaFerriere said.
The youth center will help fill this gap. Teenagers and young adults can register for activities in the new youth center at https://bffyouth.org/neo/ within the next few months.
“The youth center will be a very special place full of creativity, energy and enthusiasm,” said Singer. “But above all a lot of fun and togetherness.”
About Bright Futures for Youth
Bright Futures for Youth is a nonprofit committed to changing the lives of children and young adults in Nevada County. Bright Futures for Youth – created through the merger of The Friendship Club and NEO Youth Center in summer 2020 – has three programs: The Friendship Club, founded in 1995; NEO, founded in 2008; and SAFE, which was launched in 2019 to help youth affected by homelessness. Bright Futures for Youth focuses on health and wellness, healthy relationships, goal setting, self-awareness, self-sufficiency, and connectedness with the community. For more information, please visit www.bffyouth.org or Facebook at Facebook.com/BrightFuturesforYouth