VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Collaboratively supporting local teens and local theater, the city of Vincennes was awarded a grant of $75,000 for their Teen Center Project which is renovating a space within the community theater for teens.  

According to a press release from the city, teens throughout the area will soon have a place to access resources for school, health, and community, thanks to a grant from The Indiana Department of Health/State Office of Rural Health (INSORH). 

The funding will go towards various aspects of the Teen Center Project including staffing, materials, and direct necessities for teenagers. The basement of the Old Town Players Community Theater building is being renovated to create a space for teens to access easily.

“During the pandemic, our local community theater was forced to close which impacted their revenue. They were having some problems with the building, they hadn’t raised enough revenue during the pandemic obviously because it was closed down in order to be able to address that. So the city of Vincennes got together and we thought we would find a safe place for teens to go and this community theater also is impacted. So we can affect two things with one effort,” said Jaime Dugan Vincennes Community Coordinator. “They weren’t using the basement, other than some storage for sets and things like that, and it’s actually a very walkable location to the most disparate population in the city, which has a lack of transportation. Teens at 13 to 16 not being able to drive, they could walk to this area after school, even if they’re dropped off at their homes, they can access it. This is a super close place to walk and then be navigated to resources,” Dugan added.

Dugan also noted teens will have a safe space to get help with things like FASFA, food insecurity, and through the Grasshopper Group, an organization that specializes in adolescent mental health, support from therapists and care coordinators.

“Through the successful completion of HELP planning in the past year, Vincennes was offered an opportunity to compete against other communities for additional funding for a local project. We jumped at the chance to add even more support for our city’s youth and pitched the idea with a full request of $75K this past summer. We were thrilled to receive notification that we were awarded and look forward to the additional support this funding will offer as we open the doors to the teen center in 2024,” Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum said.