Lady Gaga foundation spreads message of empowerment at local teen center

ST. LOUIS - In the Central West End, the Spot Youth Center has been ‘spot on’ for many young people.

The acronym stands for Supporting Positive Opportunities with Teens, but this building off Laclede Avenue is a home base for anyone in need.

“So the SPOT is a youth center that provides health and social services, free of charge, to young people between the ages of 13 to 24,” said Dr. Katie Plax, Medical Director the Spot.

The SPOT is celebrating nine years of existence as a program from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Whether it’s an afterschool snack or testing for HIV, STDs, or pregnancy, the SPOT is open to anyone who needs some help.

“I get a friendship from everybody I’m here with and they kind of helped me when I was depressed at the time,” said Paige Hopkins.

On Thursday afternoon, members of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation stopped by before the evening’s concert at the Scottrade Center.

“Born This Way Foundation is a non-profit founded by Lady Gaga and her mom and our goal is to empower the youth and inspire bravery,” said Shadille Estepan, a spokesperson for the Born This Way Foundation.

Gaga sent her staff into the Gateway City with hats, shirts, Gaga gear, and messages of empowerment.

“Actually, I do love Gaga,” said Sierra Washington. “She’s different, unique, and that`s what makes her stand out.”

Late Thursday afternoon at the Carondelet YMCA, the Born This Way Foundation presented an award to a teen leader for putting together an inclusive book drive.

“So I wanted to get more diverse and inclusive books and donate them to a lot of schools in St. Louis that don’t have a lot of funding,” said Em Woolf, recipient of the Channel Kindness Award.