Avenue A’s Jacqueline Roland

  • Jacqueline Roland Jacqueline Roland

  • Jacqueline Roland Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Jacqueline Roland Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Jacqueline Roland began at Avenue A in Antrim as an intern and is now the teen center’s coordinating director. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/9/2019 2:41:08 PM

What started as a day of blueberry picking and peanut butter ice cream would eventually lead to a new passion for Jacqueline Roland.

The traditional trip from Patten Hill Farm to the Tenney Farm Stand with her mom meant driving past a small, white building on Main Street in Antrim that always caught her eye. Above its green door was a sign with the words: Avenue A Teen Center.

“I thought it was so cool every time we drove past it. I would always tell my mom that I had to check it out,” Roland said. “I finally did when I was looking for an internship a few years later. I fell in love with it.”

As a Public Relations major at Southern New Hampshire University, working with teens was never the plan for Roland. After seeing the support that Avenue A provided them, however, she was inspired and decided she was up for the challenge.

“I figure if you can communicate with teens you can communicate with anyone,” Roland said.

Starting out as an intern, she was immediately immersed in all of the programs and events that the Teen Center had to offer.

Avenue A was created as a separate department for The Grapevine Family and Community Resource Center in Antrim, giving a unique identity to local teens. Last year, Avenue A had over 300 program participants, triple the amount from two years prior. With over 12 weekly programs, the Teen Center gives middle school and high school students in the ConVal School District a variety of outlets for their creativity.

Having a strong support system was an important part of Roland’s upbringing, but giving that support back is even more important to her.

“It’s good to have a consistent role model,” she said. “I still remember anyone who was encouraging or supportive to me.”

Now 22 years-old, Roland has taken her role as a supporter to the next level as the Coordinating Director for Avenue A. Working with over 70 volunteers, she is responsible for supervising and organizing the growing number of programs.

Almost every program at Avenue A can be traced back to a teen who had an idea. The open mic program, now taking place twice a month, came to be when a ninth-grade girl had no place to practice performing her guitar.

“I’ll never forget when this girl came up to our table at the Antrim Harvest Festival,” Roland said. “She started talking to us about starting a music program. Now she’s graduating this year, and she’s been a part of the open mic program since it started. Music has been a unique way to bring kids here.”

Giving the teens a voice and a creative outlet is one of the major goals for the programs at Avenue A. When you first walk into the Teen Center, you will see a wall covered in student artwork to your right. In the corner, a row of computers sit on top of a large wooden desk built by the teens in the woodworking program.

In 2017, the writing club at Avenue A published an anthology of poetry, short stories, and creative writing projects.

“A lot of kids come to the club who don’t see themselves as writers. Having that outlet is something special,” Roland said.

Moving forward, Roland hopes to inspire the teens to give back to their communities. Some teens are even following in her footsteps and coming back to Avenue A as college interns.

Since the Teen Center does not receive federal or state funding, fundraisers and volunteers are a critical part of supporting these programs, she said.

“We’re always trying to cultivate more volunteers so that we can bring as many learning opportunities as possible,” Roland said.




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