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June 18, 2013 > REACH Ashland Youth Center opens its doors

REACH Ashland Youth Center opens its doors

Submitted By Jessie Mangaliman

Joined by hundreds of young people, Alameda County government officials and community leaders dedicated the opening of the REACH Ashland Youth Center, a $23 million facility in the unincorporated Ashland community on May 22.

The gleaming two-story complex is a much needed gathering place for youth, community leaders said, that houses a dance studio, a digital media arts center, a computer lab, a career development and employment center, a health and dental clinic, counseling services and library services.

The center is a project of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, Center for Healthy Schools and Communities, in collaboration with La Clinica de la Raza, Hayward Recreation and Parks Department, Deputy Sheriff's Activities League, Alameda County Arts Commission, alameda County Social Services Agency, Alameda County Library, and the San Lorenzo Unified School District.

Kaiser Permanente is among a number of community partners in the center, acknowledged during the dedication by Alex Briscoe, director, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.

"Today is about the dreams and aspirations of our young people," Briscoe said in dedicating the center built with the last of the state's redevelopment fund. In an area beset by the highest teen birth rates in Alameda County, high rates of school drop outs, youth unemployment, violence, child abuse and juvenile arrests, the youth center is a welcome and much-needed oasis for the community's young people, he said.

There will be recreation, education, arts and culture, career and employment training. One critical component of the new youth center is the free health and dental clinic.

"Community health and preventing childhood obesity are critical initiatives for Kaiser Permanente," said Tom Hanenburg, Senior Vice President and Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente Southern Alameda County. "We are proud to support the work that is being done at the REACH Ashland Youth Center."

"I'm proud of everything that this center has become," said Dominique Parras, the center's community outreach worker. "The youth of Ashland finally have a safe place where they can grow and be creative."

"This is a beacon for the Ashland community," said Nate Miley, Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

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