Bangor Region YMCA employees said a needs assessment of the region identified a safe space for teens as a top concern.
"There are some unmet needs in our area," said John Quinn, a leadership development coordinator for the Bangor Region YMCA. "We have a lot of kids in the area who have a lot of programs designed for them, and a lot of kids are kind of left behind."
The plans for the new teen area include a drop-in center on the first floor, and needs-based programming on the second. Here YMCA staff said they are envisioning mental health services and career mentor programs.
Staff said the area needs a free, nurturing space for teens to go to, especially for weekends and the quiet winter months.
"Bangor's kinda spread out," said Emerald Forcier, the Bangor Region YMCA's Director of Development and Community Engagement, "so we need to make sure that we have somewhere that is safe, warm, and fun."
The United Way of Eastern Maine has stepped in with $17,300 to to pay for supplies like televisions, books, and food.
The University of Maine School of Social Work has pledged graduate level students to serve as interns and mentors.
YMCA staff said they hope the community continues to get involved.
"We're really excited to bring everyone together here and most importantly to have a safe, fun place for our youth to grow up and find a healthy path with people to nurture them along the way," said Forcier.
The Youth Engagement Center is still looking for funding and volunteers for other parts of the project. Anyone interested should give Bangor's YMCA a call.