Youth First Texas board President Chris-James Cognetta said the organization has hired an interim youth programs coordinator. Amy McNamara will begin work Tuesday, Jan 24.

Chris-James Cognetta

With staff on board, YFT will extend its hours. Tuesday through Thursday, the building on Harry Hines Boulevard will be open from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. — and on Friday until 10 p.m.

Cognetta said that YFT is still looking for a permanent youth programs coordinator that they hope to have in place by the end of March.

The last YFT staff member was Sam Wilkes. Although his position was development director, he also staffed the center. Wilkes left in November. The board of YFT decided to replace his position with staff that does youth programming. Fundraising will be a function of the board.

Cognetta said volunteers have been staffing the center but it was difficult to find people who could be there before 6 p.m. on a regular basis. But opening that late meant many youth were going home from school and not getting back out in the evening. The 4 p.m. opening allows them to come to the center right after school.

Cognetta said the first event McNamara will coordinate is a Valentine’s party, on Feb. 10 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with food, music, dancing and games.