BERWICK, Pa. — The Teen Center in Berwick is a busy place, a spot for hanging out and helping out.
"It means a lot to me, it's a very important place to me, it's a very important thing to me. I think in a word it means inclusiveness, it means happiness," said teen Jake Lanning.
The For the Cause Teen Center just received more than $10,000 in grant money from the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation.
That money will go towards a new mentoring program at the center to improve teens' mental health by helping them manage stress.
"What we want is to offer things for teens, so they stay like in a safe space, and this is basically the embodiment of the teen center," said Sam Segura.
According to research, more than 17 percent of kids and teens under 18 in Columbia County live in poverty.
That can lead to a number of emotional, mental, and physical problems.
The teens say the new program is all about helping with that.
"Anyone who is in need of anything, the teen center is a very open resource. There are so many people who are willing to help with anything there. There's no judgment there. It's very open and loving," said Clara Fish of the center.
In the midst of this health crisis, those teens and the center director say now may be a more stressful time than ever for some. They are excited to launch this new program when the center's afterschool programming starts back up.
"Going through a pandemic, such as COVID, it's even more so important, so having this extra program and funding will help support those mental health programs that exist," said center director Teresa Peters.
The money will also help boost the center's other programs like tutoring, SAT prep, and more.