What is two.fifty.four?
We are a new community youth center at 254 Agler Road in Gahanna, where our youth build relationships, play games, get homework help, or just hang out! two.fifty.four was established by Gahanna Ages and Abilities Partnership (GAAP) and officially opened in September of 2018. GAAP is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization, and is committed to bridging relational gaps in the community with the mission of supporting and creating opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience life to the fullest, with a particular focus on relational wholeness. At two.fifty.four, GAAP seeks to reduce barriers and bridge gaps as experienced by our youth of all cultures, abilities, social status, or backgrounds.
Who can come to two.fifty.four?
Any youth from 3rd grade and up, including some activities for young college-attending adults! Most activities are typically broken up into appropriate age categories, and often allow for younger students to get acquainted with others who are just a little older as well. We believe this can help relieve some of the stress that students experience when transitioning into middle school, high school, and even into college. There is also plenty of time allocated for our older youth to have some hangout time of their own, or maybe even participate in activities as a volunteer or student mentor!
What kind of activities are available?
We want our youth to have fun, learn, and build relationships! We have video game consoles, laptops, WiFi, board games, card games, a foosball table, ping pong, air hockey, books, a pool table, and a large outdoor space! We plan social events, educational assistance, mentoring opportunities, workshops, cultural awareness events, classes, hangout time, guest speakers…opportunities will grow based on interests that families and youth share with us. These suggestions have ranged from homework help to self defense, car repair for teens, bible study, STEM, how to tie a necktie, self-help skills, job search & interview skills, book clubs, help with understanding college applications, family game night, parties, yoga, healthy eating, gardening, and gaming tournaments! Private meeting space may be available by request for community groups with mutual interests in serving our youth. What do you hope to find at two.fifty.four? Let us know!
Will my kids be safe at two.fifty.four?
Any time that our doors are open for public events, there will always be two individuals from two.fifty.four who have completed and passed a full BCI and FBI background check. In addition, all other volunteers are asked to complete a third-party background check that verifies identity and searches criminal records and sex-offender databases. Our staff and volunteers have a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds including teachers, youth pastors, coaches, parents, and community members with expertise in math, social sciences, history, religion, English and language arts, and science, as well as individuals who work with youth who have special needs, non-English speaking students and families, and an understanding of cultural needs. If you wish to provide emergency contact information or express individual concerns when dropping off your child, please come in and provide us with additional information at your discretion.
Are parents allowed to stay?
Yes… and no… We recognize the need for support and approval from parents in order to be successful in serving our youth. We also want parents to know that we also want to recognize the need for our youth to have time away from school, from family, and yes, from parents too. We want the youth center to be as parent-free as possible so that our youth can interact with each other, create new friendships, inspire each other, and generally to feel like two.fifty.four is a place of their own. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no supervision! As mentioned above, we have staff and volunteers who are prepared to work with, and keep an eye on, our youth while they are here, and many are parents themselves. We also recognize that parents need time away too. Leave your child with us, let them have fun, learn, and do their own thing, so that you have some time to do your own thing too! Some of our events are intended to include the entire family, and we will sometimes open our “Parents Lounge” where parents can socialize or play a game themselves, but in a separate area of the center. That way, you can be close by, but still allow our youth to have their space too.
Do these activities cost money?
In short, no! We believe that all youth should have opportunities for safe and meaningful support and social interactions, and equal access to activities in the community. All of our programs, events, and activities at two.fifty.four are offered for FREE! Free snacks and bottled water are available daily, with additional items available to purchase. Our hope is that by serving our youth at no cost, that our community will come together and support us through volunteership! Join us!