KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Change Center is set to open in late 2017 with the goal of reaching youth in the Knoxville community and giving them a safe place to hang out. It will also provide job training, as well as connections to jobs in the community.
The idea of The Change Center came out of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero’s Save Our Son’s initiative, which is part of a national initiative to increase opportunities for success and reducing violence-related deaths among boys and young men of color. City leaders talked with minority teenage boys in the Knoxville area about what it is they would like to do.
“One of the things they shared is when they’re bored they do dumb things,” said the Change Center Executive Director Nicole Chandler. “One of the things they said they wanted to do was to roller skate, so that is how the idea of the Change Center was first started.”
Renee Kelly, a Chance Center board member and educator, said when she thinks about why the change center matters and how it is going to make things better, she reflects on words her grandmother told her, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
“We really need to give kids the opportunity to reach their personal potential and this is a great place in the inner-city to do that,” said Kelly. “Knoxville is better and Knoxville is stronger when everyone has the same opportunities to contribute and succeed.”
The Change Center has several upcoming fundraisers. On Friday, a proceeds from tickets sold for the Ice Bears’ game on October 14 will go to the Change Center. The puck hits the ice at 7:30 p.m.
On October 22, there will be a gala benefiting the Change Center. For more details visit the Knoxville Change Center’s website.