The Depot is OPEN

The Depot is Opening for the Season, Friday 10/4 from 3-6PM

The Depot is OPENING 10/4/19! CHECK OUT THE IMPORTANT UPDATE HERE

We have spent the summer working on some serious restructuring here at the Depot, so please take some time to read this important update.

The Depot Jordan Valley Teen Center, located at 116 Main Street in East Jordan, Michigan, has been through some significant changes this year. One of biggest changes is the sheer number of teens we see! We have 224 teens in our system with over 126 teens visiting us on Fridays. Our new Director, Tatum Criner, took the helm over in January of 2019 and during her tenure it has been her goal to restructure the Depot to serve the teens and the community in a more well rounded way. “We want to give the teens a chance to have experiences and opportunities that they generally would not have in school or just in their every day life. We want to expose them to different programming that may inspire a new hobby or perhaps ignite interest in a career field they maybe wouldn’t have even known was an option before they experienced the program.”

So first we want to highlight some of the biggest changes that have taken place through some Frequently Asked Questions:

DO I NEED TO RE-REGISTER IF I REGISTERED LAST YEAR?
YES. We have found that contact information has changed so much for our youth we have inaccurate info for parents and legal guardians and we can’t have that. PLEASE REGISTER YOUR TEENS.

You can register your teens here: https://thedepot.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/272947

WAIT, THERE’S A FEE NOW?
Yes. For now, there has been an added weekly fee for coming to Depot. The charge is $3/teen. There is also a $10/teen registration fee when you fill out your registration form. The fee has been introduced as a way for us to help secure additional guaranteed staffing on Friday’s. Typically grants cannot be used to pay for staffing.

WHY IS THERE A FEE WHEN IT’S BEEN FREE THIS WHOLE TIME?
Previously the Depot was able to operate for free because we operated with only one paid staff person and we had a lot more volunteers available and a lot less teens. The Depot has grown from averaging around 70-80 teens on a Friday, to averaging 126 teens on a Friday. With these kinds of numbers, we have to bring on additional staff members to guarantee that all of the rooms at the Depot have a Monitor and thus can be open.

WHAT IS A MONITOR?
We have added 4 Monitor positions to the Depot staff. Their job is to help maintain the safety and security of each of our Depot rooms. This also allows us to guarantee all of the rooms can be open. Previously, if we were short on volunteers we would have to close rooms down. With close to 130 teens here we cannot afford to close rooms down. These Monitor positions will help us control the chaos and provide a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone.

 WHY HAVE THE HOURS CHANGED?
We have changed the hours to be 3-6PM. For now, that is the only shift we are offering, even on half days. The reasoning behind this is we simply do not have enough volunteers to handle the longer days (half days were 7 hours worth of programming) and we want to be respectful of our volunteers time. They’re giving up their Friday’s to be here and we don’t want to have to keep them here till 8PM doing clean up. Hours may change, we may start doing half days again, if we can secure additional volunteers. If you would like to see us extend our hours or be open earlier on half days, e-mail us at: depotjvteencenter@gmail.com for an application to be a Mentor!

WHY ARE YOU DOING PROGRAMMING? WASN’T IT FINE BEFORE?
Our reasoning behind programming is multifaceted. We have always wanted to be more than just a place for kids to eat pizza and hang out. Our goal and mission has always been to provide a life changing experience for these teens in a place where they can be safe and become who they are meant to be.

Our program goals fall into one of 3 areas: Mind, Body or Spirit.

We have a variety of programs and interest areas being offered to the teens over the course of the year. These new programs will also give the teens some say and control over what is happening at the Depot. Between Student Advisory Council and the Cafe Crew, teens are helping shape what happens here. Student Advisory teens help choose programs and events that take place at the Depot. The Cafe Crew works with Mentors to shape what we are selling/serving in our Cafe while learning employable skills, like running a cash register, counting inventory, setting price, food handling, profit/loss and more.

Teens will be invited and encouraged to select a portion of our programming to participate in. Whether it is a sports clinic, art program, learning to program apps for phones, learning to DJ,  sewing or photography class, or maybe they just want to play games as part of our Dayz Programming which changes every week. We have set aside a specific time for the day for kids to participate in some of programming with our Mentors. There is a specific part of the schedule set aside for Free Time and our Health and Wellness meal. Teens are served their FREE homecooked meal by Chef Jeni Willingham of Jeni Willingham Private Chef and Catering at 5PM on Fridays.

The new program layout also addresses some of the concerns that our Mentors were experiencing when they would volunteer at the Depot. Now when you volunteer as a Mentor at the Depot, you will be in charge of a specific activity that will give you an opportunity to work directly with the teens and build relationships. Some Mentors found our previous set up to be difficult for them to forge relationships with the teens. This method will allow more of a small group mentor opportunity.

We are still looking to make sure the youth are having FUN and look forward to hearing their input on programming!

EVENTS? WHAT KIND OF EVENTS? AND ARE YOU CHARGING?
ALL kinds of events! We are scheduling out the year full of fun extra events for teens all over the county to attend. On Halloween teens will be able to attend a Silent Disco with DJs, FREE Candy and Concessions! The cost for this event is $5 and covers the cost of hosting this event.

On 12/31 we are hosting our first concert! Details will be announced soon!

We will continue hosting free events as well! Our goal is to have some form of event happening every other month!

WHAT IS E-CLUB AND WHEN DOES THAT START?
E-club is Entrepreneurs Club! This program is geared for High School students who find themselves interested in the possibility of owning or operating a business. We will be working with a variety of Mentors from a large selection of business backgrounds to introduce the teens to different business opportunities. The goal of E-club is to operate as a young entrepreneurs think tank! Teens will be able to chat with professionals, work out their own business models, learn to write an effective business plan, learn how to elevator pitch their idea, and even have the opportunity to practice running a business. E-club will be taking applications starting in October 2019 for the November kick off of E-Club!

We are always looking for Mentors who would like to share their business knowledge. If you’re interested in working with E-club, shoot us an e-mail at depotjvteencenter@gmail.com. E-club will meet on Sunday evenings.  

We are so excited to be open and we are looking forward to an amazing year with the youth in our community! Thank you for your continued support as the Depot grows!