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Parents, students to lay groundwork for after-school club for teens


On paper, more than 800 Carroll County teen-agers say yes, they would support a club of their own that would give them a safe, drug-free place to hang out.

But would they really show up?

The teens will have a chance to put their feet -- and their money -- where their mouths are by attending a planning meeting from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow in the Carroll County Career and Technology Center cafeteria.

The session is being sponsored by the Carroll County Parents Responsible in Daily Efforts of Students (CC PRIDES), a group of North Carroll parents who organized recently to provide a place for students to go to have wholesome fun.

"In our survey, 800-plus names said yes, they want a club," said Joseph Beurer, a Hampstead parent who has helped launch CC PRIDES and surveyed students at area high schools during the winter.

"But we all know some people say yes when they mean no," he said. "The interest is there, as you can see from the survey. But we need to know the definites now."

Two possible places for the club have surfaced: a space near the airport in Westminster and the former Super Thrift store in Greenmount. But before the group can decide on a site, they need to know about how many students would join the club, Mr. Beurer said.

Offers of help are increasing from parents, businesses -- Pizza Hut will donate a table, pizzas and sodas for student planning meetings -- and community leaders.

"We've got the parents," Mr. Beurer said. "Let's find out what these kids can do."

Students indicated in the survey that they would pay monthly dues of $15 to $25 to be able to drop into a club after school and on weekend nights. Inside, they could buy pizzas and sodas for just over cost, Mr. Beurer said. The parents hope to provide a pool table, video games and other recreation.

Teen-agers will be asked for a $2 donation tomorrow to help pay the cost of incorporating CC PRIDES as a nonprofit organization so it can qualify for private donations and public grants, Mr. Beurer said. A Westminster lawyer is donating some of his time for the paperwork, Mr. Beurer said, but that work still will cost about $400.

The money collected from students tomorrow also will help finance a fund-raising luncheon that one of the student planners will organize at the career center.

"We intend to invite all the large corporations in Carroll County to a fund-raising luncheon for $50 a plate," Mr. Beurer said.

Mr. Beurer, his wife, Bonnie, and Diann Davis, also of Hampstead, originated the club idea last winter after their sons, who are friends, were suspended from North Carroll High School in drug-related incidents.

Other adults who have joined the effort include Angie Diehlmann, who moved to Carroll a few years ago and started the tradition of an overnight graduation party for each school to keep revelers safe and off the roads. Another is Roberta Rooney, a North Carroll drama teacher and director of Fool Proof, a student acting troupe that puts on skits to educate teens about substance abuse and other issues.

The group has no money now and couldn't afford to mail fliers to the survey respondents about tomorrow night's meeting.

So, six volunteers telephoned all 800 students who participated in the survey.

Mr. Beurer has spoken with county, state and federal government officials in an attempt to get grants for the club.

By classifying the club as a crime-prevention project, he said, he hopes to qualify it for federal money. He said he has spoken to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, 6th District Republican, and is continuing to give him and local officials the results of the group's surveys and meetings.

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