The long-anticipated opening of the Escalon Youth Center is in sight.
A Grand Opening Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13 at 3 p.m., with an Open House following from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’re so excited,” said Dana Corbin of Trinity Church, which has overseen the development of the Youth Center, built at the site of the former Escalon Motel on Escalon Avenue.
“We got the final inspection and got the go ahead,” she said of opening for business.
She will serve, along with husband Arney – the associate pastor at Trinity – as overseers of the site, with Trinity pastor Jim Davis the official director of the new Youth Center.
All that remains prior to the opening is some final touch up work on the inside, along with some landscaping on the outside. They may be able to open up for the community youth to utilize the facility even before the ‘grand opening,’ though that is not a certainty.
“It was about one year to the day, from demolition to the final inspection,” Dana added.
The old motel was torn down, with one large corner unit remaining that will be used by church employee Tim O’Neill as his living quarters. He will be onsite to assist in running the center on a fulltime basis.
At about 1900 square feet, the Youth Center features a main open room that will have a pool table, snack bar area, study area, TVs mounted on the wall for use with video games, and more.
“We will have our youth group meetings there on Tuesday nights for our church,” Dana explained. “It will be open during the day for any youth, we plan to be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.”
Aimed primarily at those from 12 to 17 years old, the center will provide a place for after school studying and/or relaxing as well as a place for youths to go on their lunch break at school, since it is just across Yosemite Avenue from the high school.
“It kind of grew out of our church youth ministry,” said Dana. “Pastor Jim has a heart for the youth of Escalon, he wanted there to be something for them to do. His kids grew up here, his wife grew up here; he really felt we needed something for the teenagers to do to keep them out of trouble.”
With plans in place for the upcoming school year to be open for lunch and open after school, Dana said they want to allow for some study groups and do some tutoring, to allow kids to get homework assistance in addition to having some time to relax.
“We would like to start offering life classes for kids, things like helping them with their résumé, do some cooking classes, some life skills classes,” added Dana.
The Escalon Youth Center is at 1328 Escalon Ave., and there is no charge for the programs they will be offering. Donations, however, are always appreciated.
Culminating a longstanding vision and months of hard work, much of it done by volunteers, the center is just one facet of Trinity’s wide-ranging community ministries.
They also host twice a month dinners, designed to help local residents having a hard time making ends meet, the dinners open to all the last two Wednesdays of each month. In July, those dates are tonight, July 20, and next week, Wednesday, July 27.
Dinners are served at Trinity Church, 1900 California Ave., and are part of the church’s ‘Love Escalon’ initiative. The meal is open to all, from young families to area seniors, and serving starts at 6 p.m. Also, the church opens its adjacent Clothes Closet at 6:30 p.m. the night of the dinners for those that need clothing.
Dana said all are welcome to the twice-monthly dinners and the community is especially encouraged to attend the Grand Opening celebration for the Escalon Youth Center on Aug. 13.