NewsPositively Utah


Davis School District opens five new teen resource centers thanks to $1 million donation

Posted at 10:04 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 00:04:33-04

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — This school year, the Davis School District opened five new teen resource centers at Northridge High, Layton High, Woods Cross High, Mountain High and the Renaissance Academy.

“This is humbling," said Jodi Lunt, the executive director of the Davis Education Foundation. "These students are our most vulnerable.”

More than 1,300 students experience homelessness in the Davis School District, and 300 of those kids are high schoolers, she said. The teen centers will provide dozens of students every day with hygiene essentials like showers and laundry machines, as well as one-on-one counseling and college and job-seeking resources.

“If a young person can come to school and get a shower, if a young person can come to school and launder their clothing, have food essentials met to get their homework done, have a caring adult engage with them, they will stay in school," said Lunt. “We decided to make this systemic. We decided to create a force of equality, of allowing all students to have equitable access to the needs across the school district.”

The Larry H. Miller and Gail Miller Family Foundation and the Huntsman Foundation donated a joint $1 million to construct the teen centers.

“It's so easy for teens to get discouraged and say, 'What's the use?'" said Gail Miller. "'I can't make it, I don't have a support system, I don't have the things I need, my clothes are dirty, I'll be an outcast, I'm hungry, I don't have a place to sleep.'"

This donation pushed the district’s work to the state level, creating a public-private partnership that led to legislative funding to build more teen centers throughout Utah.

“You look at these children, and it's no fault of their own," said Christena Huntsman Durham. "If they can get an education and have an opportunity to finish high school and go to a trade school or a college university, then they're given some options, and every child deserves to have a second chance.”

The teen center at Clearfield High School has been open for one year, and around 50 teens take advantage of it every day, said Lunt. Three more teen centers will open next school year at Syracuse, Bountiful and Viewmont high schools.