Drug, alcohol-free group presents plans for youth center | TheUnion.com

Drug, alcohol-free group presents plans for youth center

Nevada County’s leading youth drug and alcohol prevention group, NEO, presented plans to open a youth center in the fall of 2013 to the Grass Valley City Council at its Tuesday night meeting.

After four years housed within the Coalition for a Drug-Free Nevada County, NEO (New Events and Opportunities) has outgrown its facilities and has plans to seek nonprofit status, raise funds, open a youth center and make it a daily safe haven for the community’s teens and young adults, said Lynn Skrukrud, NEO’s cofounder.

“Young people just really want somewhere to go and feel safe and that’s the idea behind the teen center,” said Haley Pritchard, a Nevada Union High School volunteer and NEO performer who also addressed the council.

Already the organization hosts 70 events a year at approximately 25 different locations for the benefit of thousands of area youth.

“Young people just really want somewhere to go and feel safe and that’s the idea behind the  teen center.”
— Haley Pritchard, a Nevada Union High School volunteer

“The majority of our time is just spent trying to find a place to hold our events,” Skrukrud said.

After fundraising to achieve a targeted October 2013 opening, NEO hopes to start slow, only holding weekend events at its center.

“Our goal is to start small so it isn’t a huge chunk all at once,” Skurkrud said.

As if those objectives aren’t enough for the next year, NEO is already looking ahead six years.

After it secures its own preliminary youth center,
NEO hopes to expand to after school daily availability, outgrow the yet-to-be located center and eventually construct its own facility.

After outlining the NEO business plan for fundraising its proposed youth center and presenting its five-year objectives, the council members praised Skrukrud and Pritchard, joking that if everyone who addresses the council was as organized as they were the city would be in better shape.

“You had guts (to come here) and you should be commended for that,” said Councilman Jason Foyer.

Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout advised that NEO organizers meet with the city to help navigate the city’s complicated zoning regulations.

“I would encourage you to sit down with the city to find the appropriate areas before you put a lot of effort into that,” Swarthout said.

The council also looked at its capital improvement projects, its retiree health obligations and insurance benefits at Tuesday’s meeting.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4236.

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