My friend and founder of the Brookline Teen Center, Paul Epstein, introduced eight of the most inspiring young people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet at the July Coolidge Corner Merchant’s Association meeting. These teenagers have spent the last 4 summers interning to create and raise funds for what will be the Brookline Teen Center. They all spoke to the assembled group of local business leaders and told us in their own words what the BTC means to them. You got to understand, these are kids who have gone without a teen center and they’ll do just fine. They are all articulate, intelligent, caring, and no doubt a source of great pride to their parents and teachers.

They blew me away. Each spoke about what a teen center could do for their fellow students who need a place to go after school where they can avoid drugs or troubles at home, bond with others their age, and receive the love and mentoring they need. These young, soon-to-be-adults spent 4 years working for something that they themselves will most likely not directly benefit from. My company, Advanced Digital Websites, Inc., has some experience working with Brookline Teen Center interns. We worked with two groups of interns in successive years, helping them help us build and launch the Teen Center’s website. We donated our services but what we go back was priceless.

I was up all night thinking of these kids. Then it hit me, why not have a night dedicated to the outstanding contributions from the youth of our community? No politics, just an event that promotes doing good for others. We hope that other young people will be inspired by the efforts of their peers and aspire to do the same.

The First Annual Youth Awards Night will be held at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on the evening of February 28, 2011, thanks to the Theatre’s generosity. All proceeds from the evening will go to support the Brookline Teen Center. In addition, people will be asked to bring non-perishable food to support the Brookline Food Pantry.

Soon you will be able to submit a short essay on the Hub or the BTC site nominating deserving kids for one of a series of awards. Our nomination committee, headed by Paul Epstein, will review the nominations and select the award recipients. The night will include entertainment from our community’s youth of all different types.

So watch for updates in this publication on what is sure to be a great event.

R. Harvey Bravman