EPIC Zone Provides Safe Space, Drop-In Opportunities for Youth in Geneva
Announcing Summer Hours of Enrichment Programming
Canandaigua, N.Y. – The Partnership for Ontario County is pleased to announce summer hours for the EPIC Zone, a drop-in clubhouse that offers youth ages 12 – 17 years-old a safe and encouraging space.
Funded by the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the EPIC Zone acronym identifies the clubhouse values of enrichment, prevention, individuality and community. The organization is another tool to help fight against substance use and protect vulnerable adolescents, making it an important resource for the community.
The EPIC zone opened in 2016 within the Geneva Community Center. In an effort to provide members with a sense of ownership and freedom to express themselves, last year a move was made to the facility’s current location at 21 Worthington Ave in Geneva. Youth are welcomed into a homelike environment that features a living room, kitchen and themed rooms for computer work, playing games, relaxation and more.
Staff provide engaging enrichment programs for youth to achieve personal and common goals. Members can select from daily opportunities within developed themes of pro-social involvement (sports, games and creative play); evidence-based practices such as Olweus Bullying Program and Too Good for Drugs and Violence; peer support, wellness, life skill building (from cooking to STEM projects) and other options that enhance and encourage healthy lifestyles. Education is also a focus, from support homework completion to TED Talks, educational videos and worksheets to encourage self-discovery.
Community collaboration extends to the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Finger Lakes Community Health, Geneva YMCA, Hobart Service Learning and Planned Parenthood, among others
EPIC Zone Director Kelli Gage explains that their priority is to build relationships at each member’s pace and to embrace all situations. Staff members support the youth to drive the program opportunities. “We strive to help youth process through their needs and desires, identify barriers
and frustrations and to problem solve solutions,” she says. “This year, the EPIC Zone door has been opened more than 410 times to support 54 unique individuals.”
The EPIC Zone is open Monday – Friday from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. All Saturday programming takes place at the Geneva YMCA from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Summer hours will begin on June 25, which will be held Tuesday – Wednesday from 12:00 – 5:00 pm, Thursday – Saturday from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
About The Partnership for Ontario County
The Partnership for Ontario County is a System of Care organization that has served Ontario County as an independent not-for-profit since 1998. The organization serves youth, families and communities in Ontario County through programs and initiatives. The programs under its umbrella include: The Ontario County Youth Court, The Child Advocacy Center of the Finger Lakes, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Ontario County, Family Support Centers, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and Youth Clubhouse. For more information visit: www.partnershipforontariocounty.org.