Center 'Aspires' to help teens with social, mental health

Aspire is reaching out to at risk kids and teens as well as youth with mental health issues / Sarah Bleau

A new youth center reaches out to help kids with mental health issues or who are at risk for gang involvement and substance abuse.

Aspire Clubhouse provides outpatient services like for ADHD, depression or those coping with sexual abuse. Aspire has psychiatrists and nurses on hand to help with such services. They also offer individual, family and group counseling.

The facility also offers learning opportunities with afterschool tutoring and various activities.

"We also provide other types of activities such as learning dance, karate, really neat opportunities and we feed the kids every afternoon and we also teach them various life skills like nutrition and hygiene and self esteem," says Lisa Spears, Child and Adolescent Coordinator.

They also offer social outings, community involvement activities and a mentor program. Sports and creative arts activities are also available.

Aspire is located on the side of the Pet Supermarket on Dawson Road. For more information about the services they offer, call them at (229) 430-5100 or (229) 430-6054.

The program already has 100 kids signed up for their programs. Because they receive state funding, Aspire must help 360 kids annually.

Aspire's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Club House Program is operated by Albany Area Community Services Board. Aspire's mental health clubhouse is designed to provide a safe environment for children and teens to learn about their diagnosis and develop life and coping skills to decrease out of home placement and juvenile justice involvement.

Outpatient services are offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.