Local Find: The Martin Center
The Martin Center is located at 3rd Street Community Church in Canton, Ohio and exists to build relationships with teens and families in the Canton community.
Opening its doors as a community center in 2011, The Martin Center has been serving the Canton area for more than 8 years. By collaborating with local non-profits and organizations, The center aims to provide valuable opportunities in athletics, academics, and life-applicable programming to local teens and community members.
In 2011, founders Brenda and Terry Hunka recognized the need for a safe, community-centered space for the youth in their community. After purchasing The Martin Center building, they were driving past 2nd street when they saw a group of young men playing basketball across the street. The teens, hesitant at first, wouldn’t allow the Hunka’s to pass through the street. Fast forward one year later and those same teens were among the first people to walk through the newly opened facility.
The Martin Center Activities
Equipped with 8 staff members, more than 200 kids come through the center on a weekly basis to participate in sporting events, educational activities, classes, and more. The facilities include a basketball court, weight room, recording studio, game room, computer lab, cafe, and a dance studio. Courtney Chester, the Director of the Martin Center, explains that “the doors are open to any youth who wants to come in.”
The Martin Center focuses its efforts mainly on 12-20-year-olds who are underprivileged and may not get the love and attention that other children are able to receive. Terry Hunka, founder of The Martin Center, explains that “many of these kids are out on the streets where anything can happen at any time, but here, they’re safe, here, they’re loved, here, we can meet their needs by feeding them, by exercising them, by simply letting them sit there and watch TV in a peaceful, quiet environment .”
The Martin Center Mission
The primary goal of The Martin Center is to keep youth off the streets. A video produced by the center discusses the most common reasons why children commit crimes, including:
- Negative peer pressure
- Drugs and alcohol
- Lack of parental supervision
By providing a safe, communal space for kids to participate in fun activities after school and on weekends, their hope is to engage the youth in the community and keep them inside.
Support The Martin Center
The support of individuals, foundations, and businesses are essential to carry out the mission of The Martin Center. Financial and physical support are needed to restore both families and neighborhoods and provide valuable opportunities for members of the Canton community. Looking for ways to help? Consider making a monetary donation at TheMartinFund.com or volunteer your time by emailing Tippra Seese at email@example.com.
The Martin Center has served the community for close to a decade and has no plans on slowing down, Chester says. “We see The Martin Center continuing to be a safe haven for its students and only getting better as we dedicate our time and energy into being exactly what our community needs”.
Liner Legal Canton Office
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