Briana Echols remembers The CanTeen as an eclectic space where it was easy to fit in.
“I liked that it was a mixture of people – people that you really wouldn’t think would hang out together, but here they were playing pool or games together,” she says. “I felt like I was part of a community.
“It was my favorite my favorite place growing up,” she says. “It helped me be independent. It helped me make more friends.”Read more →
I’ve gained many relationships from coming to the CanTeen. I have many adults in my life that I trust because of the CanTeen. I’ve made many friendships with kids younger and older. One relationship I’ve had for 4 years. The CanTeen is my second home.
The CanTeen means a place to hang out, meet new and nice people. Stretch your legs in activities that you didn’t even know you were interested in. A place that is like home. With wonderful adults who were more like family than anyone else. A place where you could belong when you don’t fit in anywhere else. Maybe you could even find your best friend there. I’m so happy they are still a place for teens in need and just a place to make their lives better. I wish you the best on many more years of amazing work and time.
I have built a lot of relationships over the 3 years that I have been here. Mrs. Toni has taught me how to open up. I was a quiet shy type of person when I first came here, and I have made a lot of friends. I’m not really the type of person to open up to people and I truly feel safe with talking to the adults here. The CanTeen is my second home, it’s the one place where I truly feel safe & at home.
Like many CanTeen alumni, Stephany VanDyke came to the space on the suggestion of friends. It was simply a place to hang out and enjoy activities like open mic night.
But, it became much more than that as she began to forge bonds with staff and mentors who let her open up.
“Some of the most important conversations … I felt so comfortable in that place that I could engage with an adult and with kids my age and feel safe,” Stephany says. “It’s teaching life skills through acceptance.”Read more →
Located adjacent to Cicero-North Syracuse High School, the teen center been a second home for thousands since its inception in 1999. Video by Micah Castelo.
Matt Bailey was just looking to hang out with his buds when he first stepped into The CanTeen. Not only did he make more lifelong friends, but he also didn’t realize just how much The CanTeen experience would shape his adult life.
The CanTeen turned him on to volunteerism. He became anxious to perform more and more community service.
“I went to almost every single event. I loved giving back to the community with them,” Matt says. “I loved making a good word for The CanTeen.Read more →