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State Honoree

Catherine Oswald

Rhode Island

is leading an effort to establish a center in her town where teenagers can socialize in a safe, fun environment. To Cate, it seemed that there were activities for almost every age group in Barrington, except teens. As teen drinking and vandalism made headlines, she realized how important it was for teens to have a safe place to socialize. So Cate decided to create one. She recruited fellow students to join her newly developed Barrington Teen Action Group in April 1999, and they began planning a teen center called “The Place,” complete with a restaurant, lounge, and recreation area. Since then, Cate has led class assemblies at her high school, neighborhood meetings, and presentations before the local planning board and zoning board. A local business owner has supplied a facility, architects have drawn up designs, and the teens have overcome neighbors’ concerns at lively town meetings. Since the town granted approval, Cate’s been busy raising more than half of the $100,000 needed to open the center, and planning community service activities to thank the town for its support. “The teenagers have shown the citizens of Barrington that we are willing to work to make a positive difference in our community by creating a project that will foster community growth and understanding,” said Cate.