“A center of refuge.”

That’s how one Knox County teen described the new Vincennes Teen Center.

The new facility located on the lower level of the Old Town Players Theatre on Broadway Street officially opened Wednesday to a packed house.

Community and school leaders, elected officials, and representatives from the local library and service organizations witnessed the talents of all of the Knox County schools as they gathered to celebrate a place that many say will be a safe space for young people to participate in numerous activities and programs.

It’s all funded through the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program and American Rescue Plan Act monies as well as several Indiana State organizations.

The work to renovate the space was done by teens and volunteers in and around Vincennes.

The project is a partnership of many, not the least of which is the Old Town Players which is planning a production soon featuring teenagers.

Another recent grant allowed for the center to open it’s doors to younger kids in 4th through 6th grade. In a surprise announcement made at the ceremony, the crowd learned that  a new Vincennes Children’s Choir is being created as an extension of the center. The choir will be directed by Lydia Jones of the Vincennes Catholic Schools. It will start in June.

In addition to providing kids with something to do, another intentional purpose is to give young people an opportunity to learn or re-learn social skills.

Experts continue to bring more light to the negative effect that the COVID lockdown had on children, teens and young adults.

That effect is still manifesting itself through the inability of many to connect with others in person.

The new place allows for learning and expression through art, music, cooking, reading and more.

The center will be open daily after school from 3 to 6 and transportation will be provided from the schools to the center if needed.

More information on the center is available at the Vincennes Teen Center Facebook page.