A groundbreaking was held this past week for a new Barack and Michelle Obama Youth Center.
According to ABC 13 WHAM, the groundbreaking ceremony took place on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Rochester, New York.
The ceremony was held by the Center for Teen Empowerment, of which the new Barack and Michelle Obama Youth Center will be a part.
ABC 13 reports that the groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark "the official beginning of the center's construction."
The Center for Teen Empowerment's website explains its purpose, stating:
Teen Empowerment engages young leaders to develop and use their voices to tackle critical social issues and create a positive impact. Through innovative programs and initiatives, Teen Empowerment addresses social challenges such as crime, violence, and strained community relationships between youth and adults. By providing platforms for expression, fostering dialogue, and advocating for policy changes, Teen Empowerment empowers youth to develop skills and positive behavior while building safer, more inclusive communities.
The Barack and Michelle Obama Youth Center is expected to further help the Center for Teen Empowerment to achieve its goal.
The firm SWBR, which is helping with the center's construction, writes:
The new 6,700 SF center, located across the street from its current location, will allow the organization to employ more young people, increase the number and size of community events, and provide a space for youth across Rochester to unite and influence the policies and practices that affect them and their neighborhoods.
The firm goes on to provide details about the new center's design.
The design includes staff offices and meeting spaces and expanded program space to safely accommodate youth events for up to 150 people. Enhancements will include a music recording studio/multimedia room, meditation room, library, conference room, two balconies, and outdoor space for more creative programming and community collaboration.
Doug Ackley, the executive director for Teen Empowerment Rochester, reiterated this message in a statement of his own this week.
"The resources, the expanded space, and being able to add additional programming and were adding space that the community can access to for meetings and other things. We're really trying to open this up to the whole community," he said.
Ackley added, "This has been a community project and we want to keep it open to the community as we move along."
It was in September of this year that it was announced that $1 million in state funding had been allocated for the new center.
The Barack and Michelle Obama Youth Center is expected to officially open about a year from now.