If you stop by 802 Ball Street in Sedro-Woolley on weekday afternoons, chances are you’ll see lots of local youth. Why? Because the Sedro-Woolley Rec Center is open, of course!
The Sedro-Woolley Rec Center, operated by the Skagit Y, is back up and running as an afterschool drop-in center open 2:30 – 6:30pm, Monday – Friday. Complete with structured activities (such as homework help) and space for independent fun (like an art center and video game corner), the Rec Center has become a hub for youth ages 12-17.
The Rec Center has tabletop games, foosball, pool, table-tennis, air hockey, an Xbox, Wii, a gaga ball pit, art supplies, a piano, a take-what-you-need food pantry, and a clothing bank with hygiene supplies (ex. soap, socks, underwear, toothbrushes/toothpaste, tampons, pads, binders for trans youth, and more). A meal is served every day around 5:00pm and snacks are put out for youth to eat until then.
Since reopening their doors on December 19, 2022, the Rec Center has seen a total of 87 different youth drop-in, amounting to over 500 cumulative hours in the space. 119 free meals have been served (as of Friday, January 20).
“It’s safe to say that a lot of fun has been had,” shares Roger Schuettke, Outreach Manager at the Skagit Y. “Youth needs are being met at the Rec Center, and we’re thrilled that teenagers are coming from around the county to hang out.”
Most of the youth who come to the Rec Center on a consistent basis live in Sedro-Woolley, but youth from Hamilton, Burlington, and Mount Vernon have also come to the space.
“The range of locations that youth are coming from is a true affirmation of how much spaces like this are needed for teenagers in this area,” Schuettke notes.
Roger and his team provide additional help for youth who are currently homeless, couch surfing, living in motels, or need additional support.
“We can provide homeless youth with support for a wide variety of things, including mental/emotional health, reconciliation with family, rent assistance (as long as it results in the youth getting re-connected to family), payment for extra-curricular activities, education & employment, transportation, food, clothing, phone cases, you name it,” shares Schuettke.
All staff at the Rec Center are well trained in a variety of ways to support youth, including Youth Mental Health First Aid. They offer multiple forms of support, including homework help, LGBTQ+ support, recovery support, domestic violence support, job search/resume building and finding them volunteer opportunities in the community.
If you are aware of any youth who are currently homeless or in crisis, please reach out to Roger through the Outreach hotline at 360-523-0375 (text or calls).