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Youth Activities Center Moves to City Terrace

In need of a bigger space and room to grow, the East Los Angeles Youth Activities League Center, has moved from Esteban Torres High School, where it was located for the last three years, to the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Sub Station in City Terrace.

East Los Angeles Sheriffs Station Capt. James P. Wolak (far left, at the podium) on Feb. 16 helped usher in a new purpose for the Sheriffs City Terrace Sub Station. (Photo courtesy of the Sheriffs Department)

The Youth Activities Center (YAL) is an after-school youth program for children ages 7 to 17, and is open Monday through Thursday from 2-6 p.m.  In addition to offering free homework assistance and access to computers, the center also offers leadership classes, Zumba, Yoga, and Baile Folklórico dance classes among other programs.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Centro Juvenil de Actividades Abre en City Terrace [1]

The move to the 4,500 square-foot sub station will make it easier for YAL to expand its programs and serve more families, according to the sheriff’s department.

“As leaders in the community, it has become imperative that we reach out to our youth with new and innovative intervention and prevention programs. This new center will provide the youth in the community with a safe, supportive haven for counseling, educational tutoring and after-school recreational programs,” said Sheriff Baca, at YAL’s grand opening ceremony on Feb. 16.

Supervisor Gloria Molina said local residents advocated for the East L.A. Sheriff’s Sub Station to help with community policing efforts. “…This activity center will provide East L.A. youth with a safe place to learn and play – right in the heart of their neighborhood.”

The new location is the result of a collaborative effort between the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, the City Terrace Coordinating Council, the Federation de Clubes Zacatecanos and local businesses.

“What an opportunity for our youth on the Eastside and in City Terrace,” said Congressman Xavier Becerra, who attended the grand opening. “The Youth Activities League Center will be a safe space during after school hours to help keep our kids learning, engaged, off the streets and making good choices. We need partners like the Sheriff’s Department in our neighborhoods that recognize that it is up to all of us to look after the future of our communities,” he said in a written statement.

YAL is a prevention and intervention program that seeks to give at-risk youth a safe environment and alternatives to drugs and gangs. Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar said he benefited from programs like YAL while growing up on the eastside. Youth Program Coordinator Connie Cervantes said they want the word to spread in the community that the services offered by the Sheriffs are free and are a positive outlet for young people to engage in after they get out of school.

She said a lot of the crimes involving school-aged youth occur during the hours of 3p.m. and 6p.m., when school is out but parents are not home yet.

She added that they also hope the effort will change the perspective of East LA area youth who see law enforcement as being bad, “as guys who arrest your dad or your brother,” and help them see the good side of the deputies.

The YAL Center is located at the East LA Sheriff’s Sub Station: 4100 City Terrace Dr., in unincorporated East Los Angeles. For more information, contact Cervantes at (323)267-3560.