Ask any student in South River about their personal aspirations, and you’ll usually get the same answer: they want to leave this town in search of something that is missing here. As a 17 year-old senior at South River High School, I hear that same sentiment over and over. So what exactly is missing in South River? Young adults feel there is nothing to do together in this town outside of school. It’s the reason why people my age often leave town to go have fun elsewhere.
The answer: We’re missing a sense of community. Take a moment to imagine the excitement in town if we had a place to go, to hang out, to tutor and study, to have clubs, to play video games, to hold events, and to foster a new sense of togetherness. That is why a community center should be a necessity for our town.
The support for beginning such a center is already astounding and building each day. I have gathered well over 300 signatures on my petition to begin such an effort. These signatures come from every part of our community. They come from students, teachers, police officers, the vice principals of the high school and elementary school, the principals of the elementary/middle schools and the high school, the borough administrator, members of the governing body, and the police chief. I knew that this was a popular idea, but even I was shocked, and also inspired, to see just how far-reaching this support goes.
“A community center would be great, it would keep our kids out of trouble,” one police officer said. “It would be nice to have a place where people could meet up, whether it be to hang out or even get help on school work. It’s definitely a way to get people together and more involved,” said Briana Costa, the 2017 Salutatorian. “If there was a place where I could come and play video games and have a band to play for people I would die happy,” TJ Servon said.
The benefits are many and would make South River a much cooler place to grow up. I am going to continue my efforts to begin solving the many challenges associated with bringing this idea to life. I’m looking to build partnerships and find creative ways to eliminate doubts. I’m excited to see so many. Let us work as a team—as a community—to get this done. Let’s do something for the good of our youth, and for the good of our town as a whole. If you’re interested in joining me to make this a reality reach out. With your help we can make this happen!