Woman brightens kids’ days with hats at Teen Center

November 21, 2021

Annie Asberry was in Savers Thrift shop in Webster a few weeks ago when she saw a goofy hat for sale and it sparked an idea.

“I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be hilarious to wear a different funny hat for the kids every day?’ ’’

Thus was born a new tradition at the Lions Den Teen Center.

Annie tries to wear a different silly hat every day to keep the mood light in the after school program.

“Even the parents like it,” she said. “They will come in and say ‘nice hat’! I think it liven ups the mood. And if I don’t wear one the kids are all ‘ah man, no hat today.’ ”

The Webster resident started working for the Recreation and Parks Department in October of 2020, when the RecZone was helping kids cope with not being able to go to school.

Annie, who had previously worked at Mary Cariola, picked Perinton because she really likes working with kids.

“During the pandemic they really needed someone, not just to help with school work, but to talk to,” she said. “We had a great program and I think we helped a lot.”

She also worked for School Breakers and at the Pines of Perinton summer program. Now she works 2-6 p.m. opening the Teen Center for young teens after school. Annie has a Bachelors Degree in English from the University of Buffalo.

“Annie has been a real bright spot for us,” said Recreation Supervisor Mike Clark. “She came to us during a very tough time, right when we were opening up after the pandemic shutdown, and her ability to work with kids has been a great asset.”

The job has also given her a reason to stop by Savers more often.

“I go by every week or so and hope they have more hats,” she said. “I want to keep getting them and putting smiles on kids’ faces.”

The Lions Den Teen Center is open Monday-Friday from 2-6 p.m. as part of the Mid Zone After School Program. Registration is required. Please go to perinton.org for details.