Local teens selected for $98k grant by ‘Generator Z’

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Teens at EnCompass Future Ready received a $98,600 grant from Generator-Z, a project of The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Now, they’re planning exactly how to spend the money.

When the teens learned they received the grant, Aneres Lawson, an 8th grade student, didn’t know what to say.

“I was surprised. I didn’t know, I really didn’t, I was honestly speechless.”

The teens were selected based on their proposal to create five “Z-Code Zones” within the EnCompass after school space. Each zone has a different theme: Relaxation and Self-Care; Media – to record audio and video; Independence – for financial education; Fitness; and Games and Creativity – for music creation and gaming. 

Keilynn Stubbs, and 8th grade student, said because the teens are the ones designing the areas, it will better suit their needs.

“The adults don’t really know what’s going on in our minds and they don’t know what we wanted to do.”

Marquan Grines, a 9th grade student, said being able to choose what happens start to finish is empowering.

“It’s an honor just to be one of the chosen ones to some sit at this table, because when I first came here, I thought I was never going to be in here. I thought it was just going to be the big guys like Mr. Jay and Mrs. Teal. But, to be here it’s an amazing feeling.”

Jamari Cruz said he’s most looking forward to the media room. By having these resources, the program will benefit students for years to come.

“I think it will be better for the children part of the program, and it will have a fun place for them. It’ll just be a better opportunity.”

Other opportunities with the grant include free drivers education and access to the Maplewood YMCA.

The zones are expected to be complete by the start of the school year.

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