Dawson County is home to two new clubhouses for students: one is state-sponsored, the other is church-sponsored.
Next Generation Clubhouse, sponsored by the state, is located at 462 Memory Lanenear the library and Fire Station 1. It opened its doors Oct. 29.
We have a place to live a real home, said Bindy Auvermann, executive director of the facility. Its taken us a long time to get here.
The purpose of the clubhouse is to help steer students away from drug and other substance abuse and into activities and classes that enrich their lives, with qualified mentors helping along the way.
Technology has been selected as the primary vision for the center.
We are on the cusp of a renaissance of technology, Auvermann said. We have 3-D printers and Craig Butler, who is a paid intern from Dawson County High School, to teach about 3-D printing and technology. Hes also taught about dropbox.Dropbox is a file sharing service often referred to as a cloud.
Numerous organizations have lent helping hands in getting the facility up and running. North Georgia Network assisted with fiber technology; Etowah Water and Sewer Authority donated water, and the Dawson County school system has partnered with the clubhouse to send students. The library donated a garden area for the clubhouse.
Bill Rawson, Next Generation board member and mentor, said serving as a mentor is a good fit for him.
When I look at arrest reports and see young people being charged with crimes, he said, I want to support something that can help ensure our students end up on the honor roll instead. Here, kids can see something positive to do after school instead of shoplifting at the mall. They can be given new skills and incentives and to have hope when they get out of high school, not just working at a fast-food place.
The state has established guidelines for deciding which students qualify for the program. Fifty slots are available, with 12 filled.For more information on Next Generation Clubhouse,you may call 706-429-0110.
A second, church-sponsored clubhouse for teens has also opened in Dawson County.
Its called Highway Nine because its on Highway 9, Dr. Jeff Burrell, lead pastor of Kilough Baptist Church said. And if you know the history of Highway 9, its other name was Thunder Highway for the guys trying to get away from the law. But our reason for calling it Highway Nine is Proverbs 9:6.
The newly opened student center is located in the Heritage Square, Suite 120, off Highway 9 in downtown Dawsonville.
Burrell said the idea came about because students needed a place to go after school.
We wanted to provide a place for all of the young people from all of the churches and those that dont go to church, he said. We have free wi-fi, television, and they can bring food, eat what you like and stay as long as you like.
The center is open every day after school and offers a safe and comfortable setting for students to do homework, hang out, or watch TV after school.
Highway Nine is also the new meeting spot for Young Life and Wyldlife.
Im just hoping it will catch on and eventually this place will be too small, Burrell said at the centers grand opening in October.
The hours vary each day but are posted weekly on the centers FaceBook page. We try to follow the school calendar, Burrell said.
Adult supervision is provided by volunteers in the community during operating hours.
Burrell said he saw a need for the center because it seemed like parents were struggling to find places for their children to go. It seemed like parents were all the time looking for a place for their children to go. They couldnt go to restaurants all the time because you cant stay there for hours on end. But you can here. No one is going to run you off.
In addition to hosting Young Life and Wyldlife, Burrell said they will also be hosting a variety of other events including open mic nights, art shows and other special events and exhibits.
For more information on Highway Nine visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/highway9studentcenter or the website or www.kilough.com.
Melissa Mayton contributed to this report.