By Sarah Mansheim
The age-old lament, “There’s nothing to do in this town,” may be getting just a bit quieter these days for older kids and teens. Not only has Cinema 8 opened its doors to join The Lewis Theatre and Seneca Showcase in providing film fans of all ages a wide array of movies, but the long-in-development teen center, The Hub, is finally taking root in the basement of The Fort at Montwell Park.
For the past two First Fridays, The Hub has hosted kids until 10 p.m., providing them with a safe, fun space to hang out and listen to music while their parents shop and socialize in the downtown Lewisburg shops and restaurants. The Hub, operated by High Rocks, is also open Monday through Thursday after school. Some kids can even take the school bus there, and have a place to work on homework before they start their downtown afternoon activities at Greenbrier Valley Theatre, Carnegie Hall, Country Roads CrossFit, Trillium Performing Arts and Valley Dance Studio. Additionally, those students may take the activity bus back to Greenbrier East High School from The Hub at 6 p.m. if their schedule requires.
A work in progress, The Hub is in the midst of seeking involvement from the community, including area clergy, Greenbrier County Schools (GCS), Greenbrier Episcopal School, WVSOM and other organizations in forming an exceptional place for kids to gather, learn and socialize. At a recent meeting at The Hub, members of the board of education joined High Rocks Program Director Devin Preston, High Rocks Director Sarah Riley and other community members in a brainstorming session to flesh out how to best ingrain The Hub into the community.
Broken into groups, people discussed how their organizations could best serve The Hub. GCS Superintendent Sallie Dalton, GCS Director of Early Childhood Education Nancy Hanna and GCS Director of Secondary Childhood Education Lynn Bostic looked at how the public school system can help coordinate the logistics of The Hub’s mission with that of the county school system, by providing books in an informal book exchange and enhancing bus transportation to and from downtown Lewisburg. They also offered to provide code of conduct training to The Hub’s chaperones along with criminal background checks on any adults who will be overseeing children at The Hub.
So far, The Hub is a success. First Fridays have been packed with kids, and featuring live music. The fact that there is a pool table – possibly the only one in downtown Lewisburg – doesn’t hurt either. Add in the soon-to-be open, on-site smoothie bar, and you have a recipe for a good time for the under-18 set.
For activity bus information, parents may call Greenbrier East High School at 304-647-6464 or the board of education office at 304-647-6470. For information on High Rocks, contact Director Sarah Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org or see their website, www.highrocks.org.