The Rapidian

Teen community center offers leadership opportunities

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Open Doors Center for Self-Directed Teens offers Grand Rapids teens the opportunity to develop programming based on their own passions and interests.

/Open Doors Center

Underwriting support from:

Teen Advisory Council

First meeting July 16 at 2pm at Manhattan Park in East Grand Rapids

Additional gatherings every Thursday, locations TBD

/Open Doors Center

/Open Doors Center

Open Doors Center for Self-Directed Teens, a nonprofit organization in Eastown, is in the middle of expanding their services to reach more community youth, especially those who are underprivileged. 

For the last two years, the organization primarily served homeschooled teens in their pursuit of self-directed learning. Following this two-year pilot, Open Doors is ready to fling wide the doors to all Grand Rapids teens, extending their services into after-school hours. They will be providing a youth community center, created and led by teens, for all teens.

“We envision a place where teens can come in, hang out, and relax after school with other teens in a safe social space where they won’t be bullied, they’ll have the support they need and they don’t have to wear a uniform,” says Jacob Sabourin, Program Director for Open Doors. “The programs we offer are a lot like clubs, where teens can meet up to work on their own projects, collaborate, talk about issues and learn from our adult volunteers.”

The teens of Open Doors work alongside the adult staff to design programs and projects according to their needs and interests. This summer, the Open Doors staff will be meeting weekly with area teens who are interested in serving on the Teen Advisory Council. The Council will plan fall session activities and develop Open Doors into the kind of space teens in our area both want and need. The current members decided they would like to spend these casual summer meetings around campfires, trekking through the forest and otherwise adventurously traipsing. 

“We believe teens should have an active role in decision-making,” says Executive Director Rebecca Kirk. “Teens today are not given the chance to take initiative on projects of their own choosing. It is our goal to change that, and to foster motivated, happy teens in the Grand Rapids area who are ready and willing to take on leadership roles. All teens need and deserve to have their voices heard and respected. We give them that chance.”

The Teen Advisory Council will meet every Thursday, starting July 16. All area teens are welcome to join. For further information, visit You can also contact Open Doors by email at [email protected], or by phone at 616.965.6968.

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We are always looking for suitable and beneficial opportunities to develop our personal as well as professional skills. Therefore we need tips on how to develop our career, attitude, behavior and may others and for that we need to develop our leadership quality and skills. Especially teens are always looking for these kinds of opportunities; through which they are able to develop their leadership skills and ability.