After school on Thursday, 13-year-old Leo Ontivros raked crisp brown leaves as he described his pride in making the new Paso Robles LifeBound Teen Center his own.
Now he can tell his friends, “Hey look, I did that,” the Flamson Middle School eighth-grader said as he motioned to the transformed and tidy side yard. Tangible accomplishments, such as community service, are among the things he likes most about the San Luis Obispo County Community Action Partnership’s Health Services program.
LifeBound Leadership, the division heading the center, aims to shape youth into leaders through classes and activities so teens stay out of trouble. Paso Robles’ after-school center welcomes young men and women ages 12 to 18.
Slated to officially open Sept. 22, the center will have programs one or two days a week until more funding is received. Financial details were not immediately available.
LifeBound was founded in 1996 as a life skills and pregnancy prevention project in Nipomo, where the group is based. Paso Robles Public Schools is leasing LifeBound its space.
“We’re really looking forward to expanding into the North County and having a home base out here, too,” LifeBound’s Program Manager James Statler said.
The Nipomo center has community service opportunities, mentoring, guest speakers, academic tutoring, a computer lab, field trips, sports, music and arts, life skills and sexual health intervention education in a 14-week leadership course.
Statler plans similar offerings at the Paso Robles center.
Other Paso Robles youth centers include the Boys & Girls Club of North County and the Oak Park Recreation Program.
The LifeBound Teen Center will enhance its pre-existing Paso Robles effort called the Young Men’s Program, organizers said. Young Men’s reaches approximately 90 at-risk males ages 12 to 18 with prevention and life skills each year, Statler said.
The 1940s building with the royal blue trim has been undergoing improvements through donated paint, equipment and other materials with volunteer help in recent weeks. It has space for couches, computers, offices and a classroom. There is also a room dedicated to music featuring instruments and an area for song mixing and recording.
On Thursday, about five teens were planting flowers, trimming hedges and power washing the sidewalk.
“Community service will help on my college application. At least that’s what my mom tells me,” Ontivros said with a smile. The teen hopes to one day join the Air Force or become a police officer, he said. College is also on his radar.
“In LifeBound we learn things and are able to express ourselves,” Ontivros said, adding that he’s looking forward to checking out the center in between schoolwork and soccer practice.
Teen center plans open house
LifeBound Leadership will host the open house of its new teen center from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 at 504 28th St. in Paso Robles. The group will host an orientation for the community about the LifeBound youth-mentoring program. Donations of teen center supplies are welcome. For more information, visit www.lifeboundleadership.org or e-mail LifeBound Program Manager James Statler at firstname.lastname@example.org.