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Teen Empowerment Kicks Off Campaigns to Build New Youth Center Headquarters on Genesee St.

By Staff

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After nearly 20 years in Rochester, The Center for Teen Empowerment (TE) is expanding to multiple neighborhood sites and planning to build a vibrant, modern building filled inside and out with empowering youth organizing and activity. 

The new and welcoming facility will offer the kind of environment youth need to feel valued as contributors to their community, while becoming a point of pride and uplift in the neighborhood.

“When we are able to be surrounded by beautiful things, we can grow up and know that is what we deserve,” said Radezia, TE alum and neighborhood resident. Like hundreds of neighborhood teens, Radezia was once hired as a youth organizer at TE.

TE has been a hub of youth gatherings, meetings, and events on Genesee St. for over a decade. During this time across the street, several houses were abandoned, burned out and eventually knocked down leaving a large vacant lot in the wake. Since 2003, Teen Empowerment has employed hundreds of Rochester youth who have engaged thousands of their peers, adults, and community leaders in youth-led initiatives, according to the center’s website. 

Since 2015, TE youth and staff have been envisioning and planning a new center on that lot with expanded program and meeting space to accommodate larger youth initiatives. A music recording studio, meditation, activist library and conference room, as well as a balcony and outdoor space will allow for more creative programming and community collaboration.

TE Director Doug Ackley spoke about the impact of the vacant lots on local youth, “they have watched everything be torn down and now they’re going to be part of seeing something built up”.

“TE has amazing supporters throughout Rochester who have helped us sustain and grow our work. I am confident that this community can rise to the occasion and help provide this resource for young people that they need and deserve,” Ackley said.

On Thursday, November 3rd, at Bar Bantam, located at The Metropolitan, 1 S. Clinton Avenue in the city of Rochester, the center unveiled plans for the new center and kicked fundraising for the project into high gear, hoping to break ground in 2023.

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