2017-02-09 / Local News

New after-school teen center in Suttons Bay

Leelanau teens may soon have another place to go after school with a new program scheduled to get underway next month.

The LIFT teen center is scheduled to open its doors in Suttons Bay on March 8. LIFT stands for “Leelanau Investing for Teens” and is the brainchild of Bekah TenBrink of Lake Leelanau.

“Three years ago, my husband and I hosted kids at our home in Suttons Bay,” said TenBrink, who holds a bachelor’s degree in family and life education from Spring Arbor University. “But we moved to Lake Leelanau and substantially downsized, so it wasn’t easy to do anymore.”

But that didn’t mean the need had dwindled. Indeed, Suttons Bay Public School officials cited a need for afterschool activities for middle and high school age students when proposing a $14.2 million pool/community center (see related story).

TenBrink and her husband, Gerald, a nurse at Munson Medical Center, have been given permission by the Suttons Bay Friendship Community Center Board of Directors to use the lower level of the facility as a teen center for middle and high school students.

The Friendship Center is just a short walk from Suttons Bay schools.

The TenBrinks and a group of friends have spruced up the basement by cleaning and painting. But they are hoping for donations to make it a more cozy place for kids to meet.

“We’re looking for furniture, games, art supplies … anything that would make it a homey, fun place for kids,” she said.

Hours of operation the first day are 3:15-6:30 p.m.

TenBrink would also like to see youth make an impact on their community.

“For example, if any elderly woman doesn’t have anyone to shovel, they can help out,” she said. “So, it’s not just an investment, but also reaching out to others.”

Depending on how things go, Tenbrink would like to see a more expanded schedule.

For additional information or to donate to LIFT, TenBrink can be reached at 616-405-0006 or via email at liftusesb@gmail.com

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