Photo by Heather Middleton
Several teenagers had their eyes glued to the screen, while the projector was running. It seemed as if life around them diminished as they were sucked deeper and deeper into the movie, entitled, "X-Men."
The teens were inside the "Teen Zone" room of the Clayton County Library System's Forest Park Branch, at 696 Main St., in Forest Park. Among them, was 19-year-old Terrance Mims, who was experiencing the free program for the first time.
"I like it, it's cool," he said. "It is an area you can hang out, and the movies are not too G-rated, and not too explicit."
Ashley Dablah, 15, of Forest Park, said she frequents the Teen Zone room often. "The thing I like about this library is they play movies here," she said. "It is like family here."
Youngsters and young adults are also exposed to books that teach them how to draw various characters, including villains, and the famous DC Comics superheroes of the famed Justice League.
Lyndon Batiste, assistant youth program coordinator at the Forest Park branch, said the program does not have an official name, but aims to teach the importance of self-worth, community, goals, development and professionalism to youths and young adults, ages 12, to 18, through various themes and activities.
The current theme is superheroes, said Batiste. "It is geared into bringing them into the world of superheroes," he said. Some of the superheroes introduced during the two-hour program included Batman, Superman and several characters from the "X-Men" series.
Teenagers were able to watch the "X-Men" film series and the "Batman" movie, which was released in 1989, he said. Batiste said, although Thursday's program allowed the teens to relax and entertain themselves, the theme delivers a strong message to them.
He explained that most superheroes experience difficulties that they must rise above, not just for the betterment of themselves, but for humanity.
"It gives them a chance to look within themselves, and the gifts they can offer," he said.
The program, he said, concluded its last day for the summer on Thursday, and will pick up again with increased educational activities in September. The times and dates have not been finalized for the program during the school year, he added.
The format will include a main presentation, he said, a slide show, a discussion, and opportunities for questions and answers. "They will learn about people who have been accomplished in different fields, and have contributed to society," he added.
For more information about the teen program, contact the Forest Park Branch, at (404) 366-0850, or visit www.claytonpl.org.