New Alive Center satellite location opening in Aurora church

  • The Naperville-based Alive Center is opening a new satellite location in downtown Aurora, where teens will have access to a cafe, among other features, during free after-school drop-in hours.

    The Naperville-based Alive Center is opening a new satellite location in downtown Aurora, where teens will have access to a cafe, among other features, during free after-school drop-in hours. Courtesy of the Alive Center

  • A performance space within the new Alive Center satellite site in downtown Aurora will allow students to host movie nights, start a theater club or engage in other activities related to the arts, Alive @ Community leader Ady Rubio said. The 5,700-square-foot space is located within Community Christian Church.

    A performance space within the new Alive Center satellite site in downtown Aurora will allow students to host movie nights, start a theater club or engage in other activities related to the arts, Alive @ Community leader Ady Rubio said. The 5,700-square-foot space is located within Community Christian Church. Courtesy of the Alive Center

  • The new Aurora satellite location of the Naperville-based Alive Center includes several classrooms, a lounge, a performance venue and plenty of space to host teens in an after-school program.

    The new Aurora satellite location of the Naperville-based Alive Center includes several classrooms, a lounge, a performance venue and plenty of space to host teens in an after-school program. Courtesy of the Alive Center

 
 
Updated 1/19/2021 6:07 PM

Growing up in Aurora, Ady Rubio always wished she had a safe space where she could develop leadership skills or explore interests or meet teens from other schools.

Those opportunities have been available the last several years through the Alive Center in Naperville, where Rubio served as an intern in 2016. In her first year of Aurora University's master of social work program at the time, she immediately felt drawn to the nonprofit's mission of empowering teens and helping them find a sense of belonging.

 

"I loved everything about it," Rubio said. "I knew we needed something like that in my hometown."

Now a licensed social worker, she is leading the charge to open a new satellite site, called Alive @ Community, within the Community Christian Church in downtown Aurora. Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, the space will offer free after-school drop-in hours three days a week for sixth- through 12th-graders to participate in teen-led activities such as art projects, games or STEM programs, she said.

The 5,700-square-foot facility is a "huge upgrade" from the organization's former Aurora branch, which was confined to a conference room in the Aurora Public Library's Eola Road facility, Rubio said. In the church building at 78 S. Lasalle St., teens will have access to an art room, lounge, cafe, performance venue and a makerspace, she said, broadening options for them to start their own clubs, put on events or gain life skills.

"We're helping teens find leadership within themselves, tapping into their skills and gifts," Rubio said. "They're going to be surrounded by adults who care and who want them to succeed."

In the heart of the downtown, Alive @ Community will be better positioned to develop community partnerships and serve students from West Aurora Unit District 129 and East Aurora Unit District 131, she said, just as the Alive Center's flagship location has established roots in Naperville.

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Creating an after-school program and better addressing the needs of Aurora-area students has also been a longtime goal for the church, Community Pastor Rodrigo Cano said in a statement.

"Never did I think God was already working to bring the Alive Center to Aurora," Cano said. "I know this is an awesome opportunity to serve and engage our community. Together we are investing in the next generation of leaders."

Since Jan. 6, Alive @ Community has been taking families on tours of the space and allowing teens to preregister for the program, Rubio said. Alive Center leaders hope to start offering drop-in hours in early February, she said, noting capacity limitations, social distancing guidelines and other COVID-19 regulations will be in effect.

The after-school program will be 2:45 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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