On Wednesday, November 2nd, Trenton residents gathered to celebrate the opening of a new community center located at 454 N. Clinton Ave. in the heart of Trenton. The center will provide youth ages 12-18 with a safe, enriching after-school environment.

The RISE Center is a collaboration between several community groups, including Trenton’s Department of Recreation, Natural Resources & Culture Department, the Trenton Police Department, and the College of New Jersey Department of Counselor Education. Some of the services include:

  • Meditation sessions
  • Fitness classes
  • Cooking lessons
  • Career/college advisement
  • Computer programming classes
  • Skill development programs

…and so much more!

The founding members of the RISE Center seek to make Trenton a better place to live, learn, and play by giving local youth a safe space to spend their nights and weekends. Whether they need to do a load of laundry, have a bite to eat, or just connect with some friends, the RISE center provides a resource to meet all of those needs.

What started as a delipidated building has been transformed into a beautiful space where kids can unwind and truly feel at ease. The transformation would not have been possible without the help of Scozarri Builders Inc. When asked about the project and what it meant for the company, Nick Scozarri noted “we’ve been doing work in the City of Trenton for four generations, so it’s great to be involved in a special project like this for the kids. The kids are going to be the future of this city, so it’s good that they’ll have somewhere to hang out.”

Continuing, Nick noted “The best part of this project was interacting and seeing the kids walking into the building while we were still working on it, saying they couldn’t wait for it to be ready. You know your work had a purpose.” Scozzari Builders was praised for hiring locally as well as donating labor towards the project, further solidifying their commitment to the Trenton community.

When discussing how the RISE Center took form, Lt. Alexis Durlacher, a Trenton Police member, noted “the way we built this was our Youth Safety Playbook and our Youth Advisory Board. Everything that you see in this building was what the kids wanted… everything that you see here comes directly from the community.”

Reflecting on the project, Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson stated “This is a safe haven for our kids in the North Ward, they can walk in, come here, do their laundry here – this is phenomenal.”

Trenton Daily was fortunate enough to speak with Mayor Reed Gusciora, another key player in the development of the RISE Center. When asked about the impact he thought the center would have on the city, Mr. Gusciora noted “the important thing is that this is going to be an after-school safe haven… this will be an opportunity for them to come hang out, learn gaming, skills, do their laundry, take cooking classes, do their computer work. And we will have mentors here.”

Continuing to discuss how the project came to fruition, Gusciora explained “it’s a really good partnership between our recreation department and our police department. It was a two-year project, 2 million dollars, and we hope it pays off tenfold by preventing the violence that occurs out in the streets.”

When asked what he was proudest of in this process, he stated “turning around one of our abandoned buildings, which was a secret garden with a tree growing in the middle of it, to a modern facility that kids can come in and be part of the urban landscape once again.”

From an abandoned building to a community haven brimming with life, the RISE Center is already proving to be an invaluable resource to our city’s youth. As programming gets underway, our city’s next generation will be able to enjoy educational opportunities, connect with their peers, and will have an immense amount of resources right at their fingertips. If you’re interested in learning more about the center, please visit the RISE website here: RISE Trenton.