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By Eric Heinz

Community Outreach Alliance (COA) hosted a grand opening of its new teen engagement and education center, Thrive Alive.

“We built classrooms and pretty much a whole new counseling center, and right now the program has two teachers and a counselor,” said Teri Steel, the COA director of programs. “On the weekends, they’re going to take advantage of the activities that COA has been running.”

Teri Steel, center, holds a pair of giant scissors to cut the ribbon on the Community Outreach Alliance’s (COA) new teen engagement center, Thrive Alive, on Feb. 23. The center is located at the COA headquarters, 1040 Calle Negocio. Photo: Courtesy of Jack Katke/Community Outreach Alliance
Teri Steel, center, holds a pair of giant scissors to cut the ribbon on the Community Outreach Alliance’s (COA) new teen engagement center, Thrive Alive, on Feb. 23. The center is located at the COA headquarters, 1040 Calle Negocio. Photo: Courtesy of Jack Katke/Community Outreach Alliance

Steel said COA was looking to add more features to its programs in order to help keep children from taking drugs and alcohol and to help those who have succumbed to such temptations.

“We realized a lot of the kids were taking to alcohol or self-medicating, and we decided we should create a curriculum to see…why the kids are taking to self-injurious behavior,” Steel said.

The program is intended for youth ages 12-18 and runs seven-week courses.

“It’s for all kids, and we believe all kids are at-risk,” Steel said. “We’ve also talked to drug courts about possibly working with at-risk kids and first offenders and with the school district.”

The program is free, and more information can be found at www.coathrivealive.com.

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