Vision of Change
The Change Center will create healthy, vital community where life is valued, where youth are safe, & where hope is real. We want to build intentional relationships, inspire lasting change, & make a positive impact on the city from within the urban community.
Stop the Violence
The Change Center will provide youth a safe place to go for entertainment, community, & mentorship in their own neighborhood. It will provide young people opportunities for positive interactions with Knoxville Police & it will be a key element in reducing crime.
Create New Opportunities
The Change Center has two dominant purposes: the skating rink & other attractions to bring youth into a safe place, & a job connection and business creation focus. As Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries in California says, "Nothing stops a bullet like a job."
What is the Change Center
The Change Center will be a safe, strategically located, center-city partnership facility that provides recreation, leadership development, and jobs initiative for teens and young adults in an attractive, fun environment.
Change Center Components Include:
Roller skating rink, multi-purpose sports venue, climbing wall, movie wall,concert stage, DJ/music mixing booth, video games, School of Hard Knox Pizza concessions and employee training, birthday parties/special events, meeting space, and The Change Center Jobs Initiative (direct jobs, job connections, & entrepreneurship).
Why do we need the Change Center?
The Change Center was birthed out of the Save Our Sons Initiative which focuses on reducing violence-related deaths & increasing opportunities for success for boys & young men of color. The Save Our Sons Advisory Committee, put together by Mayor Rogero in 2013, found that these teens & young adults, who think they are too old for after school and youth programs, begin hanging out on the streets with no jobs & nothing to do-a recipe for boredom, bad role models, poor decisions, & death. The Change Center was designed as a key strategy in averting that violence-violence that came to nationwide attention in December 2015 with the death of fifteen year-old Zaevion Dobson, who died protecting the lives of his friends.
When will it open?
The Change Center projected target opening date is Fall 2017
The Change Center provides a safe, attractive space for fun, activities, and recreation in a strategic central location to reduce violence in the inner city. Rather than another youth serving organization(YSO), it is a partnership facility designed for all current YSO's to use. Its market is individual teens and young adults who feel that they are too old for the YSO's yet, do not have a safe place to hang out with their friends in their own community.
A Safe, Fun Place To Be
Youth have a space to continue to hang out into the evening with proper supervision after many YSO's have closed. They can participate in non-traditional sports like rock climbing and roller hockey.
Teens, young adults, and families can build stronger relationships through affordable entertainment such as movie nights, family skate night, and birthday parties. Sporting events and activities bring the community together.
The Change Center will include job training, direct entry-level jobs for young people within the Change Center, connections to jobs in the greater community, and entrepreneurial job creation.