Township opening new youth center next month in Sterling

Youth director Heather Waninger (left) and Sterling Township supervisor Angie Schneider go head to head on a foosball table Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at the Elevate Youth Center.

STERLING – A new youth activity center where middle and high school students can “play games and hang out” is opening in the new Sterling Township offices at 505 W. Lynn Blvd.

Elevate Youth Center will have table tennis, air hockey, video games, board games and more. Members of the community also will be invited to teach kids a variety of skills, such as financial literacy and techniques for improving their mental health.

Hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday for middle-schoolers and Thursday for high-schoolers, starting May 7.

They do not need to be township residents, and activities will be free, Township Supervisor Angie Schneider said.

A parental permission form, which will include contact information, will be required. Adult volunteers are needed during those hours, and the township also still is in need of games and other supplies.

A link to its Amazon wish list can be found here and on the township Facebook page.

Those interested can check out the space, in the former Fun Jump building behind Kroger’s, at an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May. 4. There will be free snacks and a bounce house.

A committee of 10, including a representative from Sterling public schools, has been working on the project for the last year, and sent surveys to parents on what they’d like to see at the center, Schneider said.

In June 2022, the township announced that it was consolidating its buildings and opening in the former indoor playground on Lynn. Providing for its youths is one of a township’s core missions, along with caring for its poor and maintaining its roads and cemeteries.

Email Heather Waninger at or call 815-590-2760 to volunteer, to offer to teach a topic or for more information.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.