Kids are celebrating Christmas early at the Avondale Youth Center in Zanesville.
A holiday themed open house is held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and this year the center is celebrating 100 years of service in the community. Public Information Officer Gary King said children enjoy carriage rides and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, but it’s also an eye-opening experience for those who attend.
"I always say it’s kind of like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory opening up," said King. "A lot of people are really unfamiliar with Avondale. There’s a lot of mystery with it, because they think it’s the home for the bad kids, but tonight people get to come out and see a different side of it."
The Avondale Youth Center is a county-run facility that houses kids ages 12 to 18 who are in the care of Children’s Services. King said it’s incredible how much of a positive impact the center has on the kids who live here.
"Kids connect with an adult and see that adults do care for them and are interested in their lives and helping them become more enriched as people," said King.
The center is selling a book that details its century-long history.