Youth Programs

At the JPC Drop-In Youth Center, we provide the young people of Cornhill with opportunities for enrichment, life skills development, and positive recreation, all in a safe, nurturing environment where they can bond with caring adult role models. In fact, we are the designated “Youth Safe Haven” for the Utica Weed and Seed Program, working as part of a larger system to keep our kids and neighborhoods safe.

Our youth know they are safe as soon as they walk in the door. We operate our youth programming in the evening hours, when many youth have few places to go, many programs are not open, and the danger of the streets is greater. Anyone who agrees with our positive philosophy is welcome to come to JPC, and we never charge a fee. We know that many who come into our doors are hungry and in need, so once everyone has arrived, we serve a hot, nutritious meal (we also provide a healthy snack later in the evening).

After the meal we offer a range of wholesome activities such as computer instruction, a reading center, arts & crafts, life skills training, cultural awareness programming, substance abuse, youth violence & teen pregnancy prevention, and various physical activities that include kickball and basketball. The children are free to come and go. At the end of the evening, youth have the option to either walk home or get a guaranteed, safe ride in our 15 passenger van.

During the Summer season, the Youth Center extends its opening days and hours. We also move outside to the JPC Basketball Playground and to Johnson Park itself to enjoy the nice weather and accommodate more youth. During this season we also sponsor several youth-focused community events, including a “Say No to Drugs” Party, a Week of Celebration with a Youth Olympics, Health/Job Fair, and Peace March, a Back-to-School Party, and an end of season Harvest Celebration. Hundreds of youth (and adults) come for fun-filled, educational contests, games, musical performances, food, and guest speakers.

The JPC Youth Programs provide children and young people with a disciplined environment where they can enjoy their free time, while at the same time encouraging them to aspire to achieve positive life goals. We invite you to come down to Johnson Park and experience it for yourself!

For our older youth and teenagers, the Youth Center offers additional opportunities to help them develop into the leaders of tomorrow. Designed for youth ages 9-16, the Youth Voice Initiative encourages and trains young people to speak up and be leaders and positive role models. Members encourage other youth not to use tobacco, illegal drugs, or alcohol and to resist crime and youth violence. They also serve as hosts and leaders for all JPC Special Events – assisting with planning and implementing games and activities, and sharing with the community about their decision to live a drug-free lifestyle.

Youth Center Hours

 Due to COVID 19 service hours have changed. Call for more information!

School Year: Tuesday-Thursday, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Summer (July and August): Tuesday – Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Investing In School Readiness

Johnson Park Center’s Head, Hand and Heart program