HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Around Huntsville, it's not unusual to see groups of teenagers hang out in parking lots late at night. Many parents would agree that's not the best environment. One of those parents decided to do something about it.
The BRIC kicked off last fall. Founder and Executive Director Rachel Rutledge says it's been on her heart for years to put together fun and safe social activities for teens. So far, it seems to be going well.
Several teens, donning The BRIC shirts, spoke to WHNT NEWS 19 and have good things to say about the group's social gatherings. They consider them secure, socially engaging, service-oriented, inclusive and motivating.
"You just get to connect with new people and meet new people in a safe environment," says 16-year-old Nicholas Brazelton. "You know it's safe and nothing is going to happen."
"At the last event, we had DJs, bands, corn hole if you're a fan of that, and dancing," describes 17-year-old Neil Eno.
"I really like coming and listening to the live bands and DJ," says 14-year-old Luke Wiley. "I hang out with my friends and meet new friends."
"The best part is just really being a servant and getting to interact with the people, serving them and building relationships with them," says 16-year-old Katie Duke.
"I love being able to go and meet new people and hanging out with my community, getting to help and be involved," says 16-year-old Jessa Wiley.
"Honestly, before The BRIC, I didn't really have too many friends," shares 17-year-old Sarah Williams. "I like The BRIC because I finally have people that I can hang out with in a cool place, with interesting music and people that make me laugh."
"It's just a great group of people to be around," explains 15-year-old Brady Jordan. "Hanging out with them is nice because you know that they're all a good influence. You get to know them and they reach out to you."
The BRIC started in the fall of 2014. The non-profit organization hosts pop up events in the Madison County area on the weekends.
"Our teenagers don't really have a place to go where they can hang out in a safe environment," says Rutledge. "The BRIC offers a safe alternative to hanging out in parking lots or at the mall or Bridge Street where you really can't be past 8pm without an adult."
To keep the fun going, WHNT NEWS 19 surprised Rutledge with $319.
"Thank you so much," shouts Rutledge. "That is so exciting! Thank you!"
The BRIC's next event is happening in June.