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New YMCA Family Youth Center Facility Opens in Isla Vista

The building was donated by developer Ed St. George and services will be provided by the Youth and Family Services YMCA

The new St. George Family Youth Center replaces a doublewide trailer where the Youth Family Services YMCA previously offered services in Isla Vista.
The new St. George Family Youth Center replaces a doublewide trailer where the Youth Family Services YMCA previously offered services in Isla Vista.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Developer Ed St. George is a humble guy, but on Tuesday, he couldn't hide that big, beaming smile.

St. George, owner of St. George & Associates, celebrated the grand opening of the St. George Family Youth Center with a crowd of about 75 other people. His company built the facility, also known as the Isla Vista Teen Center, at cost of about $500,000, out of his own pocket.

"Your heart has to go out to the kids," St. George said. "They are innocent. There has to be some place for the kids to come to be part of the community."

The center is run by the Youth and Family Services YMCA and is open to teens from grades 6 through 12. 

A therapist will also be on site to offer counseling services and it has bilingual and bicultural after school programs. It has computers, a homework center, weight training equipment, a billiards table, ping pong table and lounge with a television. 

The teen center, at 889 Camino Del Sur next to Estero Park, has been open since 1999 and the YMCA Youth and Family Services began running the program in 2002.

Ed St. George, who donated the building to the Youth Family Services YMCA, cuts the ribbon to official open the new Isla Vista Teen Center. Click to view larger
Ed St. George, who donated the building to the Youth Family Services YMCA, cuts the ribbon to official open the new Isla Vista Teen Center. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The new 3,200-square-foot building will allow the Family Services YMCA to increase capacity and offer more, higher-quality services.

The center previously offered services from a doublewide trailer purchased years ago from Los Angeles. 

Leonor Reyes, the center's program director, said the past 12 years have been a journey and she's excited to bring the youth services to a new generation of families.

"We're excited to make new memories," Reyes said. 

More than 90 percent of the families that use the center are Latino, according to Surf Media Communications. 

Leonor Reyes, Program Director for the St. George Family Youth Center, shows the homework room at the center. Click to view larger
Leonor Reyes, Program Director for the St. George Family Youth Center, shows the homework room at the center.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Reyes said it will cost $40 a year for youth to attend the center, but that scholarships are available and no youth are turned away. 

Cecelia Herrera is a mother of a teen who goes to the center. She said the facility is life-changing. 

"You can't imagine how important this is to youth and families in Isla Vista," she said. "This place means a lot to the IV community. It provides a safe place to grow."

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The new St. George Family Youth Center features a pool table, ping pong table, weights, entertainment center computers and a homework center. Click to view larger
The new St. George Family Youth Center features a pool table, ping pong table, weights, entertainment center computers and a homework center. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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