SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The YMCA of Greater Springfield has joined forces with the Dunbar Community Center.
It's a partnership aimed at strengthening the community in Springfield's Mason Square.
Kristine Allard of the YMCA of Greater Springfield said, "It's a great opportunity for the Y to come in here and bring a membership model to the Mason Square community and do what we do best and that's to promote youth development, healthy living and social responsibility."
Andre Hibbert is just one of many teens who use the community center. He told 22News, "It's a good place to hang out with people do homework, do sports here too."
Through a mentoring program at Dunbar, these teens say they've been able to gain a fresh start in life.
Jason Winters said, "I come here because it's a quiet place to work and I don't have to be distracted by things on the outside or things at home it's a good place for people to come so that you don't get in trouble so you don't have to resort to being on the street and stuff. "
Governor Deval Patrick was on hand to celebrate the partnership.
He said, "I think more and more, folks are realizing that the way we're going to assure lasting peace in neighborhoods and deal with the issue of youth violence in neighborhoods is deal with the whole child, the whole person."
The new Dunbar offers memberships on a sliding scale based on income.