CIRCLEVILLE, OH (WCMH) – A new local partnership between law enforcement, schools and recovery services has created a new hangout spot for kids and teens to enjoy after class.
“We want to reach out to all kids and know that all of them can succeed. Whether you come from an affluent family, clear down to a kid that’s been visited by us on a not so nice occasion,” said Sgt. Matthew Hafey.
The new center is located at 457 E. Ohio Street in Circleville and is for any child age 5-19 in Pickaway County.
After seeing how the opiate epidemic is affecting children of addicts, a new youth drop-in center opened on Tuesday.
“When we walk into these houses and give Narcan to the parents, do CPR on the parents, have to tell these kids that their parents are no longer alive and just the devastation in these kids’ eyes,” said Sgt. Hafey. “We’re hoping that we can reach out to these youth and have a positive impact on their lives.”
Sgt. Hafey stresses that all children are welcome to the center.
“There isn’t a lot for kids to do here in Circleville,” he said. “We’re hoping that we can reach out to these youth and have a positive impact on their lives.”
What makes this drop-in center unique is its partnership between Circleville Police, Circleville City Schools and Pickaway Area Recovery Services (PARS).
“They roam the streets on drugs and everything else,” said parent Lisa Collins. “We don’t have nothing in this community for the kids and this a very good activity for them to get away and meet friends and do other things.”
It’s a place 16-year-old Bryanna Stonerock said she can see herself coming to after school. She said with nothing else for kids to do in town, some of her peers are often up to no good.
“Usually getting in trouble, because there’s like nothing else to do,” said Stonerock. “Now there can be people that com here, have fun.”
All children or teens are welcome to play free video games and pool. They even have high-speed internet, phone charging stations, cable TV and plenty of activities.
“It’s just a place to be a kid,” said Michelle Parmer with PARS. “Role models, a safe place to go, seems the hours after school are the most critical. I know when I was that age, that’s the time I got into trouble.”
Transportation to and from the center is free with stops located around town. They’re looking for volunteers and will be open every Tuesday from 3pm-9pm.