The Fuse Teen Center isn’t actually a “center.” It will be a transient teen center, comprised of a group of parents and concerned citizens hoping to provide activities for teens in the Thurmont area. Fuse is based on Christian principles; however, it is not affiliated with any particular church.
The founder of Fuse, Susan Crone, had been long considering how to provide a group for teens. As a response to several events in which teens were lost to suicide or overdose, Susan decided it was time to step out in faith. In February of this year, a group was formed, a core group of members were identified, and a mission statement was accepted by the core. The group originally called themselves “Abandon,” but after a reorganization of the core, Fuse was born.
Crone has been a teacher in Frederick County Public Schools for thirty years. “I have worked with many students touched by the death of a friend or a loved one who is struggling with depression or addiction. The number of my actual students who have died is so sad to me. I have to do something. I can’t just sit by anymore and let ‘no’ be the answer anymore. If Fuse fails, we lose nothing but our time. But if we do nothing, we fail for sure—and the cost is our teens. Someone has to do something, so I’m doing it,” stated Crone.
Other members of the Fuse team include Buddy Summers, Carly Crone (high school teen rep.), Liz Yingling, Emily Little, Thomas Treat (middle school teen rep.), Bryan Riffle, Rachel Hubbard, the members of RJ’s Lasting Strength Foundation, Doug Mongold, and many others.
The goal of Fuse is to build relationships—relationships between teens, relationships between teens and adults. So many relationships today are made and maintained over social media. Fuse hopes to give teens the opportunity to meet face-to-face in a positive envirnoment.
Fuse hosted its first event on May 5, 2018: a Cinco de Mayo-themed evening of games, talking, and tacos. Taco Bell and Food Lion provided donations for a spectacular buffet. A visit from “Tessa” the guinea pig made the evening complete. Fuse welcomed eighteen teens, thirteen volunteers, and another ten adults who came along for the ride. The event was held at Trinity United Church of Christ in Thurmont. Fuse extends its gratitude to the church for its willingness to take a chance on the group.
Fuse’s second event was a “School’s Out” picnic, held at Thurmont Community Park on Saturday, June 16, 2018. Fuse greeted the start of summer vacation with twelve teens and nine volunteers, along with many adults who stopped in to see how things were going.
The biggest undertaking for Fuse has been the negotiation with Trinity United Church of Christ in Thurmont to offer a “coffee house,” meeting twice a week through the summer, from 6:00-8:30 p.m.—one night for middle school teens and one night for high school teens. Two rooms of the church will be used to allow teens to gather for food, fun, and “Fuse-ing!” All teens are welcome.
Fuse Teen Center has joined RJ’s Lasting Foundation. RJ’s Lasting Strength Foundation, Inc” is a 501c(3) non-profit whose mission is to combat the heroin epidemic in Frederick County by spreading awareness and educating the community on the disease of addiction and overdose deaths. Fuse Teen Center activities fit in with its prevention goals. Fuse has also partnered with the Thurmont Addictions Commission under its prevention pillar, which is chaired by Mike Randall. These partnerships will allow Fuse to be visible to more people.
Fuse does not have funding. At this point, it is operating on the generosity of places like Food Lion, Taco Bell, Mountain Gate Restuarant, Shuff’s Meat Market, and friends and family. Donations of snack items are greatly appreciated. Monetary donations would also be appreciated and can be made out to RJ’s Lasting Strength Foundation – Fuse Teen Center. Monetary donations will be used to fund items that teens at the center request. Currently, teens have requested a projector to show movies and games on the wall, and a bowling game!
For this venture to prosper, Fuse is eager to have volunteers who are willing to commit to at least one night this summer. If someone would like to volunteer or donate, please contact Susan Crone at 301-676-1183, at firstname.lastname@example.org , or at www.facebook.com/fuseteens/.