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After around nine months, the Change Center opens its doors once again

The East Knoxville community center closed last August due to the pandemic. Its goal is to offer a safe place for young people.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It has been around nine months since members of the East Knoxville community could skate at The Change Center. On Friday, community members will have the chance to lace up their skates and roll once again.

The community center will celebrate its grand reopening with a free skate night, after closing in August due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and people will be able to enjoy returning to the center until around 9 p.m.

Officials also said Sterl the Pearl, a DJ, will play music during Friday's event.

There will also be skate sessions available at specific times over the weekend.

On Saturday, people can skate from 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., or from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Skaters will be able to ride around the center on Sunday from 4 p.m. through 7 p.m.

On August 17, 2020, the center announced that it would stop holding activities as the number of COVID-19 cases rose in the community. Before then, they provided grab-and-go meals for families and partnered with community organizations to give education packets and art supplies to children.

"It has been a difficult year for many nonprofits — not just The Change Center," said Dr. Nicole Chandler, the center's executive director. "The pandemic taught us about the important word of 'pivot' in 2020, and then this year with so many things that have happened since January, it's been a very difficult year particularly for our young people."

Information about whether the center's café and other amenities would be open was not immediately available.

Safety protocols will be in place as the center reopens, such as mask-wearing and hand sanitizing stations. There will also be air purifiers through the facility, according to officials.

Chandler also said a new cohort of workers with the center is currently in training.

Anyone who wants to host a birthday party, field trip or any other special event at The Change Center can reach out at (865) 951-1567.

This weekend is going to be lit.🔥🔥 We'll see you tonight doors open @6:00. Saturday doors open @ 2:30 and Sunday doors...

Posted by Change Center on Friday, May 28, 2021

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