Amity Teen Center
PO Box 3671
Woodbridge CT 06525
Contact Information
Address PO Box 3671
Woodbridge, CT 06525-
Telephone (203) 668-9348 x
Fax 203-387-0205
E-mail amityteencenter@hotmail.com
Web and Social Media
Mission

The Amity Teen Center mission is to (1) provide a creative outlet for teens through music and art, (2) offer after school programs to stimulate creativity, enhance self esteem, and develop social and educational skills, and (3) present multicultural programs to foster appreciation of our increasingly diverse community, (4) develop awareness of community among teens through involvement in community service projects,  (5) develop leadership skills, and (6) provide a safe location for social and recreational activities.

At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1987
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Jennifer DiBlanda
Board Chair Ms. Jane Opper
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission

The Amity Teen Center mission is to (1) provide a creative outlet for teens through music and art, (2) offer after school programs to stimulate creativity, enhance self esteem, and develop social and educational skills, and (3) present multicultural programs to foster appreciation of our increasingly diverse community, (4) develop awareness of community among teens through involvement in community service projects,  (5) develop leadership skills, and (6) provide a safe location for social and recreational activities.

Background

  The Amity Teen Center, Inc. (ATC) a 501(c)(3) organization was founded in 1987 due to the growing awareness that teens are an extremely at-risk population. In the Amity school district, comprised of the towns Bethany, Woodbridge and Orange, the concerns were heightened due to: (1) budget cuts in after-school programs, (2) a teen population from three very different communities: suburban Woodbridge, country Bethany, and urban Orange, and (3) a lack of a place where teens would want to go to be with their friends, and where parents and caretakers would know their children were safe. Too many parties had little or no supervision, and religious and community programs for teens did not fill the void.  

  The actual catalyst for action came in 1986 as the result of two tragedies: a party in Woodbridge that went out of control, leaving one teen beaten to death, and another incident in which a carload of area teens died, when their car drove into a reservoir.

  Shortly after those two tragedies, the First Selectmen of Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge (BOW) came together and formed the Amity Teen Center, Inc.

   The following year, in 1987, the Town of Orange donated the use of a town owned building for the ATC. The Center, called “Club 355”, grew in popularity filling the building to capacity (105) on band nights with teens left waiting outside to come in. Unfortunately, our teens lost their club in 1996 when the Town of Orange demolished the building to build a new firehouse. 

  From 1996 until September 2006, ATC programs rotated among public buildings in Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge on a space available basis. This lack of a permanent location not only took away a “sense of one’s own place” for teens, it also decreased the frequency and consistency of activities. In addition, because the space was shared, it was impossible to provide more than one venue at a given time, and any equipment for programs, such as sound systems for dances, needed to be stored and transported each time. It also made it impossible to develop the community action, peer mentoring and leadership programs that are essential components of a successful teen center.

   During this time the three Amity First Selectmen set-up a 15 member tri-town Collaborative Committee that included representatives from various youth services, parents’ groups, school administrators, and one member of the Board of Selectmen from each Town. The Collaborative Committee embarked on a two year Needs Assessment Study, which concluded there was an immediate need for a place available to teens on a regular basis.

   This need has also been evidenced on a National level. In various studies from 1999-2006, starting with a Columbia University Study, Dr. Suniya Luthar demonstrated that suburban teens are two to three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and far more likely to use alcohol and drugs than their inner-city peers.

   After a long, difficult search, a suitable building for a teen center was identified. A huge volunteer effort involving teens and adults from all sectors of the tri-town area provided manpower for demolition and remodeling, in-kind goods and services, and fundraising.  In September of 2006 the ATC opened in an 8,000 sq. ft. building in Woodbridge that was formerly a bowling alley. Today’s ATC has ample space for all its programs, including space for teen art exhibits, plays and concerts, and room to play video games, pool, foosball, air hockey, ping-pong or board games, have dances, or “chill” (relax) with friends.   Extra space has been remodeled into rental space, with all proceeds used to defray ATC operating costs. The teens renovated a storage area into their new Medical Loan Closet.

 

Impact
This has been a difficult year due to the economy.  Due to limited resources, we have been unable to expand our programs to meet the need. However, our community service group "Leos", in partnership with the Woodbridge Lion's Club, has been very actively involved with the community, from preparing holiday baskets for the less fortunate to playing bingo with blind veterans, and helping residents in area nursing homes. We started an Entrepreneurship Program that teaches both the skills it requires to start and run a business, in addition to benefiting our community. Our after school and summer program was successful in improving reading, writing, math and financial literacy skills, in addition to improving study habits and overall performance, so that students stay in school and are prepared for the next step in their lives.  We were able to accomplish our top goals for this past year of:
(1) Expansion of the role of the student board;
(2) Expansion of our after-school/summer programs;.
(3) Expand our nonprofit business model to benefit teens and the community.
Our top goals for the current year:
(1) Expansion of current programs;
(2) Further develop our extremely successful business model - ATC Medical Loan Closet.
(3) Update our media exposure.
Needs
1) Program funding
2) More volunteers
3) Marketing expertise
4) Update website
5) Funding for building improvements and equipment updates. 
CEO Statement

Our biggest challenge continues to be expanding our programs to meet the needs. We have enthusiastic adult and student Boards searching to find creative ways to not only continue, but expand our programs. There are performing art events held at the ATC every Friday and Saturday. Throughout the week, our community service program meets and participates in various activities. Our Amity Leo Club has been very active in civic involvement.  The teens participate in at least one civic event per month, such as playing Bingo with the blind veterans at the VA Hospital, gathering food for holiday baskets for the less fortunate in our community, and continued our tradition of donating and decorating a Christmas tree for a fundraiser that benefits the Ronald McDonald House. We have successfully opened our Medical Loan Closet, which is a nonprofit business model run by the teens.  They have collected over 150 pieces of gently used medical equipment and over 75 of those pieces have been loaned out to members of our community in need.  Our teens are also sponsoring dances for students with special needs once a month and they are attending as buddies for those students to ensure that they are comfortable and having a good time.

Board Chair Statement

I first became involved with the Amity Teen Center in 1995, when the Teen Center was about to lose the use of its town-owned building in Orange.  My then 15-year old daughter had been going to the Teen Center programs every week and she and her friends were devastated to learn that the building was going to be torn down.  She was the one who volunteered me to get involved.  My only experience was that I was the mother of four children; two of whom were in college at the time. I realized how important a Teen Center was to the young people of the community and I have been involved ever since then.

We are all so proud of our Teen Center building, which opened in 2006.  We are able to provide so many activities for the teens. Our biggest challenge continues to be raising funds for programs.  Having our own permanent space gives us the opportunity to offer so much to the teens.  We ask them what programs they would like, because their opinions count for so much.  They need to know that their wishes and ideas are being taken seriously.

In the setting of the Teen Center the young people are socializing with each other.  They are developing "people skills."  Some teens had previously spent most of their spare time at home on their computers and therefore had little contact with others outside of school.  At the Teen Center they have made friends, learned to socialize and to help each other. Teens who are involved in music and the arts finally have a venue in which to perform or share their talents with their peers in a social setting.

The teens of today will be the adults of the future.  At the Amity Teen Center they have many opportunities to volunteer to help others less fortunate in their community.  This teaches them compassion and prepares them to be the volunteers of tomorrow. 

Many programs are often expensive because they have to be properly staffed.  Raising funds is an ongoing process.  We apply for various grants in the community.  Every year we have an annual appeal to residents in the tri-town area of Bethany, Orange, and Woodbridge.  In addition, we have a musical benefit at a well-known venue in New Haven.  The teen bands that perform are chosen by their peers at the Teen Center.  Each performing student is responsible for selling tickets to the event.  We have been doing this for the past 23 years.  Probably our best-known fundraiser is our annual "Chilly Chili Run", a 5-K road race in Orange every New Year's Day.  It is one of the most highly regarded road races in Connecticut and is very popular in the community.
 
One of our graduating teens commented, "I cannot imagine life without the Amity Teen Center.  This was the best part of my high school years."  She frequently returns during school vacations to volunteer.  Another teen said,
"I feel safe here and it is a fun place to be.   My parents work in New York and I really need someplace to go so I am not home all alone."
One parent said, " I wish I had someplace like this when I was growing up."
Another joked and said "Can I come?"
 
We are very excited that in the past fiscal year despite the poor economy and having to cut back our hours we still had almost 5,800 visits representing more than 500 individuals.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Youth Development / Youth Development Programs
Secondary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Arts & Culture
Tertiary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community Service Clubs
Areas Served
Bethany
Woodbridge
Orange
New Haven
Hamden
Milford
West Haven
Seymour
Derby
Shelton
Our organization serves the Greater New Haven Region.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments The Amity Teen Center is a multi-faceted organization dedicated to Youth Development - developing life skills, educational and workplace skills; Arts and Humanities  - through our music and performing arts programs as well as developing a focus on visual arts; community service  - an integral part of our program
Programs
Description

Our Life After High School program is designed to teach communication, decision making, and goal setting skills to high school students.  It provides an opportunity for students to learn, use, and evaluate skills important for success in the classroom and critical to making a smooth transition towards their life after high school.

Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) / Adolescents Only (13-19 years) / Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

Students are feeling more confident in applying for jobs and in applying to colleges.  Our current seniors have all applied and been accepted to colleges of their choices.  Last year, 100% of our seniors applied to and are attending colleges of their choices.

 

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.

Students will have better ability to determine what their goals are and how to go about achieving them.  They will have improved study habits and appreciation for education and its relevance to life after high school. They will be more confident and prepared students ready to take the necessary steps to achieve their goals.

Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
We monitor the success by the percentage of program participants that have been accepted to or applied to colleges, the percentage of program participants that graduate with some sort of plan for what their goals are for the future, and the percentage of program participants who have obtained employment. Over time - by the percentage of program participants graduating from college, tech school or obtaining employment with room for growth and advancement.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

The best example of the success of this program comes in the description from one of our teens herself. " Even compared to every AP class I’ve taken, every workshop I’ve attended, and every activity I’ve done, being the Head of Marketing for the Medical Loan Closet has been one of the most educational experiences of my high school career. It has pushed me to be more of a leader than ever before, and for that I am immensely grateful. Work delegation, responsibility juggling, and flexibility are all skills I have developed through my position. When I’m creating social media content for the Loan Closet, I am learning the basics of advertising. In making flyers and videos about our Closet, I have learned about graphic design and film production. I’ve figured out how to network in order to spread the word about our organization. I’ve even learned how to teach, as I am now training our rising Leo Club members to carry on our closet (and, if I may, I say they’ll be fantastic leaders next year). The biggest change I’ve seen in myself since taking on this position is the dramatic increase in my ability to collaborate with others, whether it be with my peers or with adult professionals. I have acquired an appreciation for the world of non-profit business, and I hope to continue working in it as an adult. I can’t thank the ATC enough for allowing me to learn so much in this program."  

Description
Teens Making a Difference Program in partnership with the Amity Leo Club (Junior Lion's Club) to teach teens empathy, caring and the importance of giving.
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Teens becoming active adults in the community and assuming leadership roles in community improvement
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Number of projects, surveys of teens participating, surveys of people or organizations who have benefited from the projects
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Group of teens going to the Veterans Administration Hospital and playing bingo with blind veterans.  Some of the teens are now corresponding with "adopted" veterans.
Teens putting together Holiday Baskets for the needy through the Woodbridge Human Services Department.
Description
Stage performances by teens for teen audiences that include music, poetry and theater.
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) / General/Unspecified / Other Named Groups
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Teens learn not only the skills required to perform in front of an audience, but also the organizational skills required in booking, and promoting a program.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Surveys of the teens and the art teachers
Description Art classes and Exhibitions
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. The number of pieces exhibited, number of students participating and patrons viewing the exhibits.  Feedack from the student, the art teachers and community members.
Program Comments
CEO Comments
We have enthusiastic adult and student boards searching to find creative ways to not only continue, but expand our programs.
There are performing art events held at the ATC every Friday and Saturday. Throughout the week, our community service program meets and participates in various activities. Our Amity Leo Club has been very active in civic involvement.  The teens participate in at least one civic event per month, such as playing Bingo with the blind veterans at the VA Hospital, gathering food for holiday baskets for the less fortunate in our community, and continued the tradition of donating and decorating a Christmas tree for a fundraiser that benefits the Ronald McDonald House.  We are very excited about our new Life After High School project involving workshops centered around an actual business model - the Amity Teen Center Medical Loan Closet.
CEO/Executive Director
Jennifer DiBlanda
Term Start June 2007
Email atc.info@gmail.com
Experience Jennifer Romanoff DiBlanda has been with the ATC for over 10years.  She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a Degree in Business Management.  In addition to her extensive experience in running a business, she has three teenagers of her own.  This has allowed her to have additional insight into the minds of teenagers and an understanding of what it is that they want from a Teen Center.  Jennifer's philosophy and that of the ATC is that the teenagers need to feel "ownership" of the Center.  Therefore, planning and implementation of the activities and events is a critical part of the success of the ATC.
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 8
Number of Volunteers 30
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 80%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs and Terms
NameTerm
Mrs. AnneMarie Karavas July 1995 - June 2007
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Collaborations
The Amity Teen Center, Inc. collaborates with the Woodbridge Lion's Club in co-sponsoring the Amity Leos.
The Amity Teen Center, Inc. also collaborates extensively with various departments of Amity High School, Woodbridge Human Services and other area agencies.
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
CitationCT State Legislature2015
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2016
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2009
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2010
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2011
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2012
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2013
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2014
Volunteering in the CommunityWoodbridge Social Services2015
Participation in Senior Internship ProgramAmity High School2016
Volunteering in the Community Woodbridge Social Services2017
Volunteering in the Community Woodbridge Social Services2018
Recognized for outstanding community serviceDistrict 23 A Lions Club2018
Comments
CEO Comments In today's world, our youth are finding that they are not being taught real world survival skills.  Our Teen Innovation Center, which offers after school and summer activities focus on improving reading, writing, math and financial literacy skills, in addition to teaching ways to improve study habits and overall performance so that the participants stay in school and are prepared for their next steps, be it higher education,the military, or employment.  We are enhancing the gap between what the youth are learning in school and how it can be applied to the real world.
Board Chair
Ms. Jane Opper
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Term July 2014 to June 2019
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Mrs. Linda Cohen Parillo, Cohen & Co.
Ms. Lindesay Cotlier Community Volunteer
Ms. Nicola Edwards
Mrs. Beverly Fries Lion's club officer
Mr. Jay Jaser Jay Jaser, Attorney
Mrs. Karen Levine Nurse
Mrs. Sheila McCreven Citywide Youth
Mr. Mark Mezzanotte Liberty Bank
Mr. Jack Nork Revionics
Mr. Joseph L Stalsworth Community Volunteer
Mrs. Samantha Woodruff Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 8
Risk Management Provisions
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Accident and Injury Coverage
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
General Property Coverage
Special Event Liability
Directors and Officers Policy
Board Co-Chair
Email amityteencenter@hotmail.com
Standing Committees
Youth
Building
Capital Campaign
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30 2018
Projected Revenue $135,000.00
Projected Expenses $135,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$510,953$499,154$506,524
Current Assets$34,725$19,723$41,197
Long-Term Liabilities$7,167----
Current Liabilities$5,109$5,194$6,297
Total Net Assets$498,677$493,960$500,227
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Town of Orange $18,000Town of Orange $13,750
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Town of Woodbridge $12,000Town of Woodbridge $10,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Town of Bethany $6,000Town of Bethany $5,000
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Comments
CEO Comments The economic downturn has created many challenges.  We are working hard to maintain and enhance our programs under these adverse conditions.  Fortunately, we are able to use in-kind donations of goods and services.  Also, we have been attending workshops by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.  The information provided has assisted us in our fundraising development.
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address PO Box 3671
Woodbridge, CT 06525
Primary Phone 203 668-9348
CEO/Executive Director Jennifer DiBlanda
Board Chair Ms. Jane Opper
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer

 

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