There is a gap between the time school finishes and when parents manage to arrive at home. What do children do during that time gap? Do they spend it at the public park? Do they spend it at their friends’ homes? Or is it better if there’s a community recreation center where they can dabble in arts or learn a new sport?
The youth are in danger of falling with the bad crowd when they have nowhere to go after the school bell rings. This happens when most builders in Townsville or other cities do not focus on the development and safety of the youth. When all these property developers can think about is making money, they forget about the importance of building community centers.
What Should Community Centers Provide?
Community centers should be a thriving hub where the youth can learn new activities or hone their skills in sports, music, and the arts. For older people, community centers should have programs to teach them how to use the Internet. Senior citizens should have activities that cater to their age group, too. There should also be a library where people can gather to read books, do research, and finish their homework.
But this isn’t the case for many community centers. Some community centers offer the mentioned programs and activities. Many are mere buildings that house a basketball court. There’s nothing else for senior citizens and non-athletic youth to do in those places. This is a problem all across the country. In some parts, community centers don’t even exist.
What Do Communities Want?
Traditional community centers offer fitness centers, out-of-school programming, and aquatic facilities. These are not enough for a thriving community of Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Xers. If community builders want to serve the neighborhood better, they should listen to what the community wants. According to surveys, communities want their recreation centers to have healthy living classes, older adult programs, art and craft lessons, computer and Internet access, health clinics, and inclusive facilities for all abilities.
What Community Centers Get from the People They Serve?
Programs and activities in community centers are not for free. Although they are cheaper than private classes, parents still have to pay for their children’s music lessons there. Borrowing books from the library is free, but penalties are imposed on those who fail to get the books back in time. There are free classes for octogenarians and senior citizens, but these are subsidized by the government.
Community centers are economic hubs, too. They create jobs for thousands of people each year. These centers don’t run by volunteerism alone. People are paid to teach programs and organize activities. These are the same people you meet in local grocery stores and diners. These centers not only have a social impact on the community; they create economic opportunities, too.
Parents and the youth should be anchored to these community centers. They are a place where the youth can learn about their skills and abilities. Parents will feel better knowing that their kids are safe in these community centers. Governments must build centers where people can congregate and learn.