Peabody?s Hub gets boost with free Internet, cable

More than a year ago when Peabody?s youth center no longer was receiving Title II grant money to operate, some speculated the facility might have to close its doors, leaving teenagers with no place to go.

Faced with that possibility, members of the community stepped forward and recommitted to keeping The Hub afloat.

Nancy McLeod, who has volunteered since the center opened five years ago, said local churches donated, the city provided free water for a year and Dale and DoeAnn Hague of Peabody pay the mortgage and provide other help where necessary.

?The grant was nice to have,? McLeod said, ?but when the center opened, a lot of kids in Peabody were vision-driven and everyone spent a lot of time making this work.?

One of the most recent donations was free Internet and cable for a year through Allegiance Communications.

Aaron Waddell, employed with Allegiance Communica?tions, installed the cable and Internet Sept. 7.

Waddell said he made a request for the free service and was happy to hear when Greg Harrison with the corporate office in Shawnee, Okla., approved the idea.

A graduate of Peabody High School, Waddell said he has lived in New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona, but is glad he had the opportunity to come back and be closer to his family.

McLeod said the center is open to all young people in Marion County ages 12 through 19.

?The Hub is a place they can call their own,? she said, ?whether it?s to do homework, use the computer, watch television or play the XBox 360 or Wii.?

Using grant money, the center was able to acquire eight laptop computers, which are set up on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to the activities, McLeod said they serve energy drinks, pizza, cheese sticks, poppers, pretzels, donated potato chips and other treats.

From 2007 through 2009, grant funds totalled $87,587, which meant the center could pay a director, utilities, Internet, travel and more.

Even without the grant, McLeod said many who care about youth are persistent about making the facility viable, keeping dances, bringing in different bands and organizing tournaments.

The Hub is open from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 12:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, McLeod encourages young people to stop by and visit at 118 N. Walnut or call 620-983-2949.

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