Giordan Dixon, 16, stuck to his script at the new Homewood – Brushton YMCA on Bennett Street in Homewood South.
“I want to be a singer and a music producer,” he said, guiding small tours.
Dixon lit up while showing off the center's recording studios, mixing boards and booths. Like a lot of teens lately, the aspiring entertainer spends hours pouring over the facility's new music education suite studying artist development and vocal training as part of YMCA's Creative Youth Center.
"You can come and express yourself in any way you feel is appropriate," he said.
Its range of programs include the Lighthouse Project, an afterschool program for high schoolers which originated at Westinghouse High School, and the Y Creator Space focusing on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) for students from kindergarten through middle school.
Youth and Development Director James Brown said that hands-on access to technology reinforces lessons learned at school.
“We very much want to continue to work closely with the schools to make sure we’re supporting academic achievement,” YMCA President and CEO Kevin Bolding said.
Phase 1 of the Creative Youth Center was funded by a $1.52 million grant from the Heinz Endowments. Phases 2 and 3 call for design labs, a maker space for STEM projects and a 75-seat black box theater.