CLINTON, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s a safe space for teens to come to. Not only is it a fun place for them to hang out. They also teach valuable life lessons and help these kids get through any tough time in Our Town Clinton.

“I love the vault and I love the message. I love the people here at the vault,” Alayna Earle, a student ambassador, said.

That’s the sentiment from any teen involved in the vault, but what actually is it?

“The Vault is a teen center where kids can come and we provide recreational events, programming, enrichment classes so they can grow emotionally, physically, spiritually,” Tammy Wilson, the executive director, said. “We provide a safe space for kids to come and just be and grow and feel like their life has value and purpose.”

And for the past few years, that’s what they’ve done. Growing into the center they are today. Even through the adversity.

“A lot of people thought back then and even now still think this is just a hang-out place. Like just for kids to come, you know, play games. We have tons of stuff to do here, games, ping pong, and we’ve got a mini bowling alley downstairs and all the fun stuff, but our hearts, as staff, are to really invest in our kids,” Wilson said.

Kids like Earle. She’s a student ambassador for The Vault and has been involved for a few years. She said she’s learning lessons she’ll take with her for life.

“I’ve learned a lot of leadership. Learning how to get people, like I said, connected and also just moving people along towards their goals in life, and just learning how to be more of a positive person and having a positive outlook on general life,” Earle said.

And she wants others to feel the same.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t know how to connect into the community and wouldn’t if someone didn’t help them get on that path. Just having a safe place for people to go if they’ve had hard spots in their life or troubled pieces in their family or friendship. Coming here, and having that sense of security within a place where you know you’re going to be heard is wonderful,” she said.

For the adults there, that’s the whole point

“That’s our goal is to make sure every student who walks in the door, that they feel valued, and that they feel like they have purpose and potential,” Wislon said.

Helping teens get through their day to day and teaching them how they can be the best people in Our Town Clinton.

“We can do way more than just let the kids hang out. We want them to grow, to have a future, and to really feel like yeah, I really do feel valued and I’m not just hanging out and not a part of this community,” Wilson said. “That’s the other thing we want the kids to feel like you are important to this community.”

The Vault is growing every year, adding new programs and expanding to reach even more people.

If you want to learn you more you can check out their Facebook page here.