A teenager’s ability to reach their full potential can be hindered by any number of reasons. But a local organization is making sure a lack of opportunity and encouragement are not among them.
“Our goal is to help them achieve their goals,” Teen Action and Support Center Executive Director Madi Hutson shared.
The Teen Action and Support Center focuses on providing leadership development, physical resources, training and counseling in an effort to help teens accomplish their goals. Hutson explained that TASC’s ‘in service’ program helps teens find opportunities in the Northwest Arkansas community to make a difference.
“We offer a wide gamut of community service projects, about six to eight a week in the school year and a 11 to 13 a week during the summer,” Hutson said. “So it’s quite a few.”
Benton County Chief Probation Officer Drew Shover refers children to TASC in order to fulfill their court mandated community service hours because the organization has such a high success rate of connecting with teens.
“When you have one in four kids that are exceeding the numbers of community service, and they’re coming back, you can’t ask for a better organization than that,” Shover pointed out.
According to TASC, Shover’s experience with teens going above and beyond their assigned community service hours is hardly an isolated event.
“We have one in four who do that, not only stay but stay double the time,” Hutson shared. “So we’re finding that it’s not necessarily that these youth need to go out and just complete their service hours. They need meaningful connections in the community.”
While the service opportunities are great, Heritage High School’s lead counselor Kim Favero appreciates TASC’s teen parenting program that gives young parents the tools to raise their children.
“We can encourage behaviors ad talk about if this isn’t working and problemsolving those types of things,” Favero said.
“They are going to make better choices, they’re going to have a better path, a better outcome if they know that ‘hey, I can take charge of my life. I can do things in the community well,'” Hutson explained.
TASC relies heavily on the kindness of donations and fundraising events, and are holding their annual “All In” casino night event Saturday, January 28.