New Center Takes Teens To Extreme - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/22/03

New Center Takes Teens To Extreme

Nineteen-year-old Matt Montesanto's love for skateboarding has paid off.

His skills, along with his friends, were a welcome addition to a new club helping to change the lives of South Mississippi teens.

"We were just skating down the street and somebody told us to come check it out and we talked to them about building a ramp, and the next day we just got started on it," said Montesanto.

This skating ramp has helped to launch one of the hippest teen hangouts in town, The Xtreme Teen Center in downtown Gulfport - a refuge for all of those teens who just want to do one thing.

"To get out the house," said 12-year-old Erica Gee.

"We wanted to open a facility just for them to help teenagers have a place to go and hang out with a safe environment, and that's what the Xtreme is all about.When you come through we have sports arcade, full of gaming tables, ping pong, pool, fooz ball. We have over 20 video arcade games. We have a sports cafe," said director Andrew Lombardo.

There's also a courtyard out back where teens will find everything from a game of basketball, to a large screen jamming the latest hits in alternative Christian music.

The idea behind this center is "positive peer pressure"- teaching them values that will encourage and boost their self esteem.

"If we're not here skating we're gonna be on the streets getting arrested by cops," said 18-year-old Ryan Stevens.

It's a place filled with good music, good food, and good fun, and don't forget the good message -You can stay out of trouble and still have fun to the extreme.

If you would like to experience the Xtreme Teen Center, it's located at 1507 24th Avenue in downtown Gulfport.

It is open every Saturday night from 7 to 10:30 p.m.

There is a 5-dollar cover charge.

By Karla Redditte

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