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Update: VIBE Youth Lounge gains funding and support

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 On Wednesday night, members of the VIBE foundation’s Youth Leadership Board met at their 3,000 square-foot future lounge site, a building donated to them by the Sacramento Housing Redevelopment Agency, to discuss their recent accomplishments and funding plans.

The youth lounge, which is scheduled to open in August, aims to provide a safe and fun environment conducive to the success of its youth members. In addition to after-school tutoring, the lounge will offer a game area and career center with a network of resources to help teens find jobs, internships and apprenticeships.

VIBE is an all-volunteer organization, and the entirety of its fundraising efforts have been conducted by the VIBE Youth Leadership Board, composed of around 15 teens. Christina Giffin has been serving as the adult project lead and as an adviser to the youth that has been overseeing the project and lending a hand or guidance wherever needed.

For the past two years, Giffin and the youth board have been collaborating on research, creating a business plan and meeting with people who will play a role in the creation of the lounge.

"During this time, Vibe has remained low-profile because we wanted a strong and compelling final product to showcase to the community," Giffin said.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Chair David Schenirer reminded the Youth Leadership Board that their project is "revolutionary" and is unique to the entire nation in that the model was dreamt up and is being executed by youth.

"I think the thing that impresses me the most about VIBE is the attitude of the youth involved. Their dedication to an idea and their goal sets an example for youth everywhere," said Ben Wangerg, a Youth Aide for the Sacramento County Office of Education who is coordinating the Regional Opportunity Program project with VIBE.

As a way to cut costs once the lounge is open, around 75 teen employees per year will be paid with school credit through ROP credits instead of actual paychecks.

While it is undoubtedly a hard time in the economy to secure funding for any type of project, the lounge has still gained momentum and has begun to catch the eye of community members, including Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn, who is helping to get the word out about the lounge.

Scheduled for a soft opening in August, the VIBE Youth Leadership Board is working diligently to hammer out the final details in the coming months.

The teens’ dedication to the lounge is paying off. The foundation was recently granted a $10,000 check from Wells Fargo that will be given to them by month’s end, a huge accomplishment for the teens who have been left to their own devices to secure funding.

They will be continuing fundraising efforts in the coming months through their capital campaign, with a goal of raising $500,000 by December of this year.

On Monday, June 15, the VIBE foundation will be holding a meeting and delivering a presentation to potential backers. Invitations to the meeting have been sent to various organizations, philanthropists and people who may be able to contribute to the lounge’s financial needs.

To shave costs, a network of adults has been contacted to volunteer time and services, including community members like Peter Castles of the Hoyt Company, who will be assisting with marketing and public relations. Other adult volunteers will include contractors, web designers and artists for their planned July participation in Downtown’s Second Saturday Art Walk.

The tentative business hours for the lounge are 4-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday and 5-10 p.m. Saturday. These hours allow teens to be home before the city’s mandated 10 p.m. curfew on weekdays and time to get to the center after school gets out.

The VIBE Urban Lounge will be located at 1725 K St. For more information, visit thevibefoundation.org or e-mail Christina Giffin at christina@thevibefoundation.org

 

The graphics above are architectural renderings of the proposed lounge, created by designers Stantec and Mas Mojica

The group photo is of the VIBE Youth Leadership Board.  

 

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