How to Start a Youth Center

A gathering of people interacting.
Youth centers are safe havens for kids. it helps in making kids walk on the right path. Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

Youth centers provide a place for kids to go to keep them off the streets. You can help make a difference in your community by starting a youth center. Simply follow these guidelines to start a youth center:

  1. Consider joining a pre-existing organization One of the easiest ways to start a youth center is to join an existing organization. Check for community or religious programs in your area to see who is taking care of kids.
  2. Form a board of directors Hold a public meeting to raise interest in starting a center. Invite local community advocates as well as leaders of other local charity organizations. Form a group to work as a team to set up your youth center [source: Boys and Girls Clubs of America].
  3. Create a mission statement and goals Have your board of directors write down the purpose and goals of the youth center. Figure out the needs of the community and find solutions to help the local youth [source: The Spot Denver].
  4. File for non-profit status Contact the Internal Revenue Service about becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. This will allow you to fundraise as a charity, receive donations to run your programs, and make your organization exempt from federal income tax [source: IRS].
  5. Find a facility Find a building for your operation. You'll need the space to support your planned activities and to meet your goals. Also factor in location, costs and safety when choosing a place [source: Boys and Girls Clubs of America].
  6. Recruit volunteers and eventually hire staff Recruit dedicated, reliable people to volunteer at your center. As soon as your youth center has a steady income, hire paid, trained, qualified employees [source: The Spot Denver]. Keep your staff happy and feeling like they are a meaningful part of the team.
  7. Get insurance You'll need at least general liability, building and hazard insurance for your facility. Contact local authorities to find out about any other insurance needs [source: The Spot Denver].
  8. Fundraise Solicit donations from corporations, government agencies and individuals from community, state and federal sources. Hold events to raise money to run your youth center.