Brentwood News


Austin House in Brentwood Offers Activities for Youth
By Jenny Ferm     8-28-18

A new opportunity for local youth to build connections with their peers and their community is the focus of Austin House, a nonprofit recreation facility in Brentwood.

The Austin House focuses on bringing children of all ages together in an open and safe environment.

The facility supplies visitors with a wide variety of activities, from tutoring to a weekly dodgeball game. Volunteers from around the area come in to help run the organization, and to keep the children and adults connected with their New England community as well.

What makes the Austin House different from other recreation facilities is its message.

Austin Anderson was a 17-year-old high school student, son, best friend, and community member who died in late December of 2016 in a car accident. His passing led his family to think about the community where they had raised him, and the things it does and does not offer. Mark Anderson, Austin’s father, created the Austin House in December of 2016 with help from the GoFundMe page he had posted in Austin’s honor.

This background has created an environment that promotes mental health awareness, a connected community, and a place where people can feel safe.

 

Michael Blaikie, a volunteer and participant, and Lindsey Messina, a volunteer and board member are pictured at the Austin House in Brentwood.

 

“We want them to feel like they have a place to go if they don’t have one,” said Lindsey Messina, a board member and volunteer. “It’s really just supposed to be a space where kids can feel safe and inspired.”

The goal of the Austin House is to serve as a safe haven for anyone in the Brentwood community. Whether it means coming in for a weekly tutoring session, discovering the world of cosmetics through a makeup class, or just hanging out with some friends, the Austin House offers it.
 
“It's to connect the kids with the community, and give them some leadership skills,” said Messina. “If they want to try something new, they can, or they can build up a passion.”

They plan on offering courses on mental health awareness, something they think is an untouched yet important subject. This will help them branch off from merely recreation activities, diving into more extended learning opportunities that can help kids grow.

 

A ukulele group learns how to play ‘Happy Birthday’ at the Austin House in Brentwood.

 

The building is still in a somewhat developmental stage. Located in the back of Grace Ministries, the Austin House plans many changes to the building moving forward. Those range from building a greenhouse to installing more electronic equipment for a media program. Austin House is not religiously affiliated.

The Austin House also plans on expanding into other areas of New England, specifically Manchester, NH and Haverhill, Mass. The funding they receive from various organizations like New England Tutors allows them to plan these expansions, and also to enhance their base location with new classes and activities.

“We need to test things out, because what works here in Brentwood might not work in Manchester. It’s about finding what the community needs,” Messina said.

 

Paintings are on display from an art class at the Austin House.

 

With the variety in activities that the Austin House offers, any child is likely to find something appealing. Even if a particular activity is not offered, Austin House is always open to suggestions.

Austin House is open Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m.  for middle and high school students, and Sundays from 4 to 7 p.m. It is located at 263 Route 125 in Brentwood. Anyone interested in participating in any of of the events and classes offered at the Austin House, or wishing to volunteer, should visit: https://www.austin17house.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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