IOWA CITY — Although the organization may have moved out of its old Victorian houses in downtown Iowa City, United Action for Youth staff wanted to make sure their teenagers still got a “homey” feel in their new office.
UAY, an organization that provides crisis and counseling services, as well as support for homeless teens and teen parents, recently moved across town to a new facility. The organization plans to celebrate the move with an open house and art show from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday in Eastdale Plaza at 1700 S. First Ave., Suite 14. A ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at 4 p.m.
“Coming from that space, we definitely know that young people feel comfortable in a place that feels lived in,” said Mickey Hampton, UAY’s development director. “They can be themselves. They can be at home.”
UAY staff even pulled aspects from the old Iowa Avenue houses to place in the new building. Pieces of trim from outside the houses were used to make the front desk and the stained glass windows were salvaged for wall art.
UAY had to leave the downtown houses after the cost of maintenance became too high for the organization. Hampton said once the organization got an offer on the houses that would allow them to become debt free, they decided to move in May.
“It was a good decision, it was a hard decision,” Hampton said. “But this move puts us in a really good place to make sure our programs continue to benefit the community way into the future.”
The new location is close to Tate Alternative High School and just down the street from South East Junior High. Hampton said UAY services young people throughout the community so it’s also situated on several bus routes.
The UAY Swaim Youth Center still remains at its downtown location at 355 Iowa Ave.
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Those who attend the event Friday have the chance to check out the counseling areas, teen parent child care room and community room. Additionally, they can view art from UAY alumni and a “Teens Through the Ages” photo display.
“It’s quickly becoming home for us,” Hampton said.