Naperville center wants to help people discover passion with art, healthy classes

  • The new Alive Center at 500 W. Fifth Ave. in Naperville also will be the home of the teen center NaperBridge.

      The new Alive Center at 500 W. Fifth Ave. in Naperville also will be the home of the teen center NaperBridge. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Open space awaits activities planned for the new Alive Center, which will include Hula-Hooping exercise classes, meditation sessions, drum circles and cooking classes.

      Open space awaits activities planned for the new Alive Center, which will include Hula-Hooping exercise classes, meditation sessions, drum circles and cooking classes. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/20/2015 3:11 PM

Everyone has something that makes them come alive.

Starting Friday, Naperville teens and adults will have a center specifically designed for those activities, be it painting, photography, reading, meditating, playing the drums, cooking or just having a real conversation.

 

"I'm really excited about it because it has such great potential to meet a need that I think so many have right now," said Heather Randazzo, a Bolingbrook art therapist who will lead workshops at the center. "We're so focused on connecting electronically or virtually ... and to connect in person with actual materials is so powerful and I think it's something that people don't even realize they're missing."

The Alive Center is starting its teen activities at 7 p.m. Friday with two bands and a disc jockey performing in the new space at 500 W. 5th Ave. near Naperville North High School.

Kandice Henning, founder and executive director, said the new community center aims to help people discover their passion and purpose, live a healthy, conscious lifestyle and find a sense of belonging. At a time when the pressures of living up to expectations are gaining more attention, Henning said it's important for teens and adults to know what moves them and live accordingly.

The center she's creating will serve both age groups with some free events and other paid classes that teach healthy ways to cook, exercise, create art and relieve stress.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's a way to help people connect in a fun, interesting way," Henning said.

The warehouse-style space, which Henning described as "retro-looking," includes a lounge for drop-in hours through the nonprofit NaperBridge teen center, an art studio, a kitchen for cooking classes, small meeting rooms for life coaching or tutoring sessions and an open area for workshops, including drum circles and Hula-Hooping exercise classes.

The Friday event launches teen activities that used to go on at the NaperBridge teen center in downtown Naperville. The center opened in November 2013 at 231 S. Washington St. but closed about a year later after deciding the space was too small.

Jeff Haake, president of the NaperBridge board of directors, said students seem excited to merge with the Alive Center and move into the new space, despite it no longer being in the city's downtown.

"What makes me most encouraged is seeing the students' reaction to it," Haake said. "I think it's continuing the energy that we had at NaperBridge and it's expanding."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Naperville North senior Taylor Ross, an outgoing member of NaperBridge's teen board, said extra space at the 5,000-square-foot Alive Center will come in handy and make the center more welcoming than the 600-square-foot former NaperBridge hub.

"We have so much more room to work with. I'm really excited," Ross said. "We can actually have bands come in and perform and we're not worried about space issues anymore,"

Following the teen center launch, the Alive Center will begin its adult events with a grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 9.

Henning says the event will offer a variety of activities.

At 1:20 p.m., keynote speaker and Olympic speed skating medalist John Coyle will give a talk called "How to Design Moments that Help You Live (Almost) Forever." Later sessions will focus on healing properties of spices, incorporating so-called "superfoods" into meals, how to make a kale salad or radicchio wraps with walnut-lentil dip, rhythmic drumming and Hula-Hooping.

Once the Alive Center is up and running, professionals including art therapist Randazzo of Suncrest Studios and life coach Lee Giacalone will offer their services.

"I'll be involved by volunteering my time to work with the teenagers, and we've talked about perhaps spending time coaching them or mentoring them somehow," said Giacalone, who offers coaching for parents, married couples and others following a philosophy called the "law of attraction."

She said she wants to help teens realize their decisions have power.

"As a result, the healthier their choices are, the happier and more successful their life will be," Giacalone said.

Randazzo said she'll lead wellness-based classes in making vision boards or art journaling, processes that are therapeutic in nature.

"What I plan to do with the Alive Center is to incorporate and use the creative process to increase wellness and quality of life," Randazzo said.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.