The Methuen School Committee has voted to approve the former Pleasant Valley School building on Pleasant Valley Street as the location for a new Methuen Youth and Community Center.
The vote, taken during the School Committee’s meeting on October 26, comes on the heels of State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)’s efforts to establish a formal youth center in the City of Methuen. DiZoglio, who recently marched 159 miles across Massachusetts to raise awareness and support for the project, has noted that Methuen is among the few communities in the Merrimack Valley that does not have such a center like many surrounding cities and towns.
The local nonprofit Inspirational Ones, in collaboration with Methuen Public Schools and the City of Methuen, is initiating the program, creating and implementing a curriculum model to identify and expand outside-the-box learning experiences and career opportunities, with a focus on engaging underserved youth. An essential component of the project is participation by the Youth Advisory Council MY (Methuen Youth) Voice, whose members have been nominated by teachers and school staff and include representatives of that underserved population.
“I am so grateful to Mayor Perry, Superintendent Kwong and the entire School Committee for their thoughtful deliberation of how to best support the youth in this endeavor,” said DiZoglio. “They had a great discussion and we are lucky to have such a great group of people who genuinely care decide to help make the vision of a Methuen Youth and Community Center a reality. We are so thankful!”
“This is such an important step toward the long-awaited goal of having a Youth Center in Methuen,” said Methuen Mayor Neil Perry. “The dream has been ongoing for decades. Senator DiZoglio, the City of Methuen, and the School Committee are committed to making it a reality. Methuen is full of young people and families who deserve such a facility. We are driven to create a Youth Center in which we all can take pride.”
“This vote for a Youth Center at the Pleasant Valley School site is a tremendous step forward for the young people of Methuen,” said Brandi Kwong, superintendent of Methuen Public Schools. “We have long needed such a facility to provide recreational and educational options for families. The School Department is pleased to be part of this initiative and looks forward to bringing it to fruition. I want to thank Senator DiZoglio for her persistence and vision of MY Voice – Methuen Youth Voice and Community Center, Mayor Neil Perry, and the School Committee for their commitment to a youth center that will be enjoyed by so many for years to come.”
“The Greater Methuen community has leadership that invests and believes in the power of our youth,” said Susan Leger Ferraro, founder of Inspirational Ones. “We are beyond excited to begin this innovation with MY Voice leadership pioneering the way! Thank you to Mayor Perry and the School Committee for demonstrating the power of community to open doors for a unified future.”