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One year later

Just one year after opening The Fran Cohen Youth Center, The Salvation Army of Collier County is beginning to grasp just what an impact the center’s programming is having in the lives of local children and their families.

The center opened in April 2017, offering a fun, safe place for elementary school and middle school students to go after-school and during the summer. The old program was housed in the main administration building and could only serve an average of 60-70 children, but the new dedicated building has 191 students enrolled.

The after-school session offers tutoring, after-school snacks, sports skills training, a variety of fine arts workshops, a 3-d modeling classroom, a culinary arts lab, and music lessons. In fact, the center’s homework first policy has contributed to a .5 point rise in each student’s total GPA, and so far 164 children are on track to receive honor roll certificates.

Students from all demographics attend. This year The Salvation Army with help from local partners like the Latchkey Leauge, Terra Cotta Charities Inc., and Elizabeth K. Galeana Charitable Foundation, Inc. has given more than $75,000 in tuition scholarships.

“The FCYC is committed to serving the employees of our service industry workers. 90 percent of our parents work in the service field, and their average household income is $38,000 per year. 65 percent of our parents are single-parent households,” said Paul Conklin, Director of After-School Programming.

“I think the most shocking thing has been seeing just how big the need in the community is,” said Major Dan Proctor. “We have already outgrown the space. The good news is, plans are on the horizon to add a gymnasium to the existing building.”

The current building is approximately 14,000 square foot under roof with 9,000 square feet of it air-conditioned.

The Fran Cohen Youth Center, located at 1472 Airport Road South, is named after Mrs. Janet Cohen’s daughter who passed away in 2010. Cohen, along with her late husband, Harvey, have been generous supporters of community efforts that help and support SWFL youth. She believes in giving young people opportunities to excel.

FCYC Anniversary Video

“I want it to be a place where we help kids care about their futures, mentored by people in town who have succeeded, who started with nothing and became something.” – Janet Cohen

To make a donation online please visit http://bit.ly/swflsmile
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