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Uintah High School’s new teenager center will assist homeless pupils



Vernal, Utah – The plan to build a new teen center in Uintah is being pursued by the school district. It will offer areas for teenagers to gather and study, as well as access to a food bank and restrooms for those who might be homeless or facing hunger.

According to the proposal, the facility would be housed in Uintah High School and offer services to teenagers with basic requirements, regardless of their familial circumstances.

“As we envision it, the Uintah High Teen Center would support all UHS students in various aspects of their lives,” USD Support Services Director Mindy Merrell said.

“This initiative underscores our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students.”

It would be open during school hours and manned by a full-time school employee.

Students from Utah High School who are homeless can utilize the facility to work on school projects, do laundry, have a shower, and get access to meals and snacks.

According to Merrell, around twenty-six USD students are homeless as of the current academic year.

Based on data gathered by Utah State University, approximately one in eight Uintah County people under the age of 18 experience food insecurity.

Merrell and other administrators got the idea to collaborate with state agencies and nearby businesses to support children in developing workforce skills after seeing teen centers in the Davis School District.

“I could easily see us partnering with Vocational Rehab or the Department of Workforce Services,” she said.

“What kid in our community couldn’t benefit from learning how to interview for a job or dress for an interview? We want all our kids, not just those who may be struggling, to benefit from the teen center at Uintah High.”

The project still needs to be formally approved when the board approves the FY25 budget in June.

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