The story behind the Glendale Youth Center
Tiffany Torres, who currently works at the Center, has fond memories of visiting her local youth center as a child. “As a little girl, I would always want to be at the youth center,” she recalls. “There were so many programs, from sports to Girl Scouts and even cooking classes. It was the only place to go if you didn’t want to be out on the streets getting into trouble.”
Torres was right to be apprehensive of the neighborhood. Her beloved youth center was in an area of Glendale, Arizona, known as the Heart of Glendale. It’s a community that’s seen more than its fair share of problems: drug dealing, gang violence, underperforming schools, and a host of other issues. About 95% of the neighborhood’s community members are minorities, and the vast majority live below the poverty level.
While the city-owned center played a vital role in the community, it eventually fell into disuse. That’s when Partners In Action stepped in to help return the center to its former glory.
In 2016, PIA contracted with the City of Glendale to revitalize the center and begin offering programs for youth and their families. As CEO Jerry Bowman explains, “A $100,000 grant from the Fiesta Bowl Charities allowed us to revitalize the center so kids in the area could come for after-school programs and a chance to get off the streets.”
Today the Glendale Youth Center offers a safe, happy, compassionate and fun environment. The Center offers a much needed After School Program which the children get homework help and experience crafts, sports, computer center, dance, etc. The children also receive meals and snacks while attending the programs.
Partners in Action also sponsors the Holiday Events and Summer Program for the Center.