The Youth Center housed in the Finely Gym Complex is now free for Socorro County youth, the City of Socorro announced on Sept. 14.
“We are more than happy to help families,” said Mayor Ravi Bhasker, “This isn’t charity or anything like that, people pay taxes, and we thought it would be best for everyone.”
The Youth Center serves children ages 3 to 12-years- old, all year long with a capacity of up to 40 kids in their new location in the Finley Gym. Families are encouraged to register their kids as soon as possible, as the program is available on a first- come, first- serve basis. When full capacity is met, a wait list will be created.
Shaye Lee, City of Socorro Recreation Facilitator, believes that offering the program for free will help the families in the area who need after school and summer care for their children. Lee said many families were communicating that they couldn’t afford the fees.
“Once we went ahead and put it out there that we’re not charging, people started coming back again,” Lee said.
According to Lee, the money collected was going back to the program for supplies, but she felt that giving more families access to the program by eliminating the fee was ultimately more important.
“It’s what is best for the community,” said Lee.
The program arranges for safe transport for students after school during the school year and offers summer programing as well. They have been serving students who come from schools all over the county.
According to Lee, the Youth Center is more than just a safe place for kids after school, they focus on engaging students with projects, games and crafts. Kids have an opportunity to get help with homework and go to the library.
The Youth Center moved to the Finely Gym Complex in July. The center is organizing the space and asking for donations of art supplies, games, books and furniture.
All registrations can be picked up and returned at City Hall or the Finley Complex. For more information on registration and donations, please call 575-838-7510 or email [email protected]