Teen focus groups, surveys and classroom visits helped set the stage for the development of the Cimarron Teen Program. These efforts signaled our desire to be relevant and responsive to youth; and at program launch many of these teens stepped through our door.
Today, the Teen Program attracts both middle and high school youth by offering a space—their space—along with a spectrum of activities, opportunities and support. Visiting artists nurture expressiveness through different media—visual, dance, spoken word. A nutrition educator guides teens through more complex cooking projects. Computers enable youth to stay connected with friends and culture. Games and comfortable furniture invite social interaction. Field trips expose and excite participants. Service learning projects help teens recognize the impact they can have on the world. Dedicated program times for older teens increase their participation. Staff help cultivate teens’ academic success by carving out exclusive time for homework help. Youth have repeatedly reported they are proud of their accomplishments within the Teen Program; have learned things that can help them get a job; know program staff believe they can be a success; and are confident that staff value their thoughts and concerns.