Corps and church aid at-risk teens

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A new and exciting program for at-risk teens and pre-teens ages 11-17 has opened in Redlands, Calif. Named the Community Teen Club, this program is a collaborative effort of The Salvation Army and Trinity Evangelical Free Church.

Held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Army’s Corps Community Center, the club provides a safe and attractive environment where youth can feel accepted, cared for, and encouraged without discrimination. This is done through the interaction of responsible adults, college, and senior high school volunteers.

In a day and age when it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a teenager, this program is desperately needed.

“With many parents working, there’s no supervision at home. This program gives children appropriate adult supervision,” said Major Roger Bowman, corps officer. “We work very hard to maintain a Christian environment, and this program provides a safe haven for the kids.”

Beverly Marshall, volunteer director and a member of Trinity Church, indicated that in the short time the club has been open she has already seen positive effects.

Marshall, 20, added that she’s already counseled some children on topics including pregnancy and the importance of abstinence. Having high school volunteers on board who are abstinent helps drive home that point. She also faced the unfortunate task of having to comfort a young person who had just lost a best friend in an automobile accident. “That was a tough one,” Marshall said.

Besides the one-on-one attention the kids receive, the teen club offers a game room and tutoring services for homework. A computer lab is also being developed.

The Salvation Army was chosen as the site for this program because it’s located in the heart of an at-risk neighborhood. While the classrooms are provided by the Army, the volunteers are provided by Trinity Church.

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