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‘Virtual teen center’ to advertise events

by Sheila Gardner, Record-Courier editor

Claudia Bertolone-Smith has created a “virtual teen center” to keep the Valley’s 12-to-18-year-olds busy with fun, supervised activities.

Bertolone-Smith, active in the creation of the ProTeen youth organization, said with a few telephone calls she was able to come up with about a dozen activities she thinks kids would enjoy in the next couple of months. The activities are inexpensive and will be chaperoned, Bertolone-Smith said.

“Without the money or time to build a center, we’re creating a virtual teen center to get kids busy now,” she said. “People have been overwhelmingly supportive.”

She hopes to publish a regular calendar of teen activities in The Record-Courier (see at left). Many of the events are sponsored by Douglas County Parks and Recreation and are low cost or free. She said any teen-ager who wants to participate should contact her even if they lack transportation or money to pay for it.

“There are so many people who want to do things for kids in this community. It’s just amazing,” she said.

Other members of ProTeen include Douglas County Community Services Director Scott Morgan, recreation superintendent Brian Fitzgerald, recreation coordinator Sheryl M. Christian, Cooperative Extension Agent Steve Lewis, Carson Valley Middle School teacher Kristina Wulfing and Mary Thomas of the YMCA of the Sierra based in Reno.

Bertolone-Smith said she is always looking for adults to help chaperone or who want to sponsor a program.

“I encourage people to join in even if it is just a little bit,” she said. “You can make a huge difference in the life of a child.”

She can be reached at 782-3244.