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Boys and Girls Club opens new teen center

New Boys & Girls Club teen center offers safe after-school environment for middle and high schoolers

LHS+students+pose+by+the+BGC+logo+in+the+new+Center+for+Great+Futures%2C+which+opened+Aug.+17.
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Boys and Girls Club opens new teen center

LHS students pose by the BGC logo in the new Center for Great Futures, which opened Aug. 17.

LHS students pose by the BGC logo in the new Center for Great Futures, which opened Aug. 17.

Nola Levings

LHS students pose by the BGC logo in the new Center for Great Futures, which opened Aug. 17.

Nola Levings

Nola Levings

LHS students pose by the BGC logo in the new Center for Great Futures, which opened Aug. 17.

By Zora Lotton-Barker, Staff Writer

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The recently renovated teen center has new features for middle and high school members of the Boys and Girls Club.

After breaking ground in August, the unveiling of the Center for Great Futures at the beginning of the school year was a huge win for Boys and Girls Club teen, who now have the space they need.

The older center was unable to house the amount of adolescents who needed somewhere to go after school.

“The current Teen Center, located at 1520 Haskell Avenue, has the capacity to serve only 70 of the school district’s 2,300 sixth- to eighth-graders (that’s just 3 percent of them, as compared with our ability to serve 63 percent of K-fifth graders),” according to a brochure produced by BGC before construction. “It is simply too small and outdated to provide the same level of quality, interest-based educational programs for students past fifth grade.”

Since opening, the new establishment is able to accommodate twice as many participants.

“For the teen center, we have 275 teens enrolled, and on average, we have around 120 to 130 kids who come every day,” director of teen services for Boys and Girls Club Amy Hill said.

The new center has several new programs and features that the older center did not.

“Here at the Teen Center we have a brand new gym that is indoors, and at our last place, we had an outdoor court, and that’s all that they had,” Hill said. “We have an indoor gym. We have a performing arts studio. In our performing arts studio we have a recording studio, a control room and a video recording area as well as a 90-inch TV, and a brand new gaming system. We have a culinary kitchen, and we have a chef that prepares dinner every day.”

The center also plans to partner with the College and Career Center in the future.

“The campus also houses the Lawrence Public School’s College and Career Center, where the school will be looking to partner with local businesses going forward to provide additional workforce readiness opportunities for teens,” according to www.bgca.org.

Sophomore Jazmine Dillon said that the teen center offers a lot of different activities, but her favorite part about the new center is the dinner.

“I love hanging out with my friends, doing the activities that they have, they’re really fun…We do lots of crafts and team building activities that I like,” Dillon said.

The center not only has fun activities, but offers plenty of academic support as well.

“The center provides an opportunity to continue to increase the academic support and mentorship for our middle and high school students,” deputy superintendent Anna Stubblefield said. “It is a positive and safe place for students to go after school and during the summer.”

The Lawrence School District has had a long standing relationship with Boys and Girls Club.

“The Lawrence Public Schools and Boys & Girls Club have been partnering for almost 30 years,” Stubblefield said. “In 1999, the first Boys & Girls Club site in a USD 497 elementary school opened at Cordley. Today we have a site in every elementary school.”

The center has also made a large impact on the Lawrence community.

Boys and Girls club’s mission is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” Stubblefield said. “By partnering with the school district, I believe the impact on the Lawrence Community is developing citizens with character who will continue to make a community a great place to live.”

Dillon has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club since fifth grade.

“It’s taught me how to be more of a leader than a follower and to make more out of myself that I usually would,” Dillon said.

About the Contributors
Zora Lotton-Barker, Reporter

Hi! My name is Zora Lotton-Barker and I am a sophomore. I take part in French Club, Environmental Club, and Art Club. I am also a member of Lawrence Ballet...

Nola Levings, Photographer

Hi! My name is Nola and I'm a junior. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and pet my dog. In school, I participate in inter-tribal club...

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Boys and Girls Club opens new teen center