CanTeen Youth Center
The CanTeen center offers an after school program for youth between grades 8 through 12. Its mission is to provide opportunities for youth to fulfill their full potential without discrimination, in a safe environment by encouraging youth to make positive life decisions.
Located at 6046 State Route 31, Cicero, adjacent to the Cicero High School, the facility has a full kitchen; outside picnic tables & grill area; pool and foosball tables; space for board games and meals and plenty of free parking. Youth are bussed from the Cicero Junior High; those from the high school simply walk over. Youth from other locales are always welcome. Outside groups and organizations are heartily welcomed to support activities at the center.
This program has an interesting history, with roots back to 1998, when a group of teens initiated a dialogue with community leaders about services, support and opportunities to keep youth safe and entertained during their out of school time. The following year the NE Youth Initiative Teen Center was established in MarketPlace Mall and relocated temporarily after that to the NS Community Center. Discussions continued to find program sponsorship and secure grant funding. In 2002 the Town of Cicero took over the program administration. A third “home” was established at the New Country Plaza in Cicero and the name “CanTeen” was adopted. Flash forward ten years, and the Friends of the CanTeen (501c3) purchased 6046 State Route 31 in Cicero as their new, permanent home.
Now approaching its 20th year, the CanTeen remains a haven of social acceptance and fun activities. A welcome smile and conversation is always on the agenda, but impromptu pool games, board game challenges, picnics, occasional movies, Kool-aid and snacks, and even suppers hosted by outside groups pop up punctuating the daily routines.