Dozens of Parlier community leaders stood alongside each other to celebrate the grand opening of the city's new youth center.
Youth Center of America Executive Director Christina Alejo said, "I'm very excited to be opening the new center, we already have some programming for the kids."
The grand opening was a milestone for local leaders. Years ago they had a vision to turn what used to be a fish market into a thriving community center. Their perseverance paid off after the city received a $1 million federal stimulus grant.
"It was a struggle," Mayor Armando Lopez said. "There was so many requirements that have to be met. We applied twice before actually getting the grant to build the facility. So we're very pleased."
Leaders say the 10-thousand square foot facility will be instrumental in creating opportunities for kids looking for something positive to do after school.
"We envision this as a tutorial center for math and English and we also want to have activities for the kids," Alejo said. "So we've already scheduled karate and kendo and we have folklorico dance."
The center is just not for kids. It will host activities for adults with zumba and jewelry making classes. Additionally, it will also serve as a cooling center during extreme heat waves.
Community leaders hope the new youth center will serve as a space for the entire community to come together to work, play and learn for years to come.