RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After 15 months and $8 million, the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs’ doors are open once again.
The upgrade and expansion adds 8,000 square feet to the recreational facility, marked by an official ribbon cutting Friday morning.
“We don’t have anything in the East End, structurally, for our kids,” Richmond Sherriff Antoinette Irving, who is also the new Chair of the Boys and Girls Club advisory council, said.
Irving said she grew up on the courts of the club, and that the time spent there helped shape her from a regular kid into a protector of her community.
“It was because of the angels in this intuition that groomed me into who I am today," she said.
Among the new amenities are a new pool, an updated gym, fitness center and studio space for work related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
“This has to be about the whole child. Not between school hours, but also after the bell rings," Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said. "This is also about letting them know that they can be anything they want to be.”
Current Boys and Girls Club member Niyazia Tune, who was also named “Youth of The Year,” says she’s excited about every bit of the new space, and especially about getting back to guiding the younger club members.
“Now we have windows," she said. “I like to help. So when they come for help, I like for them to know that I will always try my best to help them.”
Malik Ahmad, another Boys and Girls Club member, says that these changes will only spell out positive things for his home neighborhood.
“I think it’s going to be a good change for the community. A positive change for the future of Church Hill,” he added.
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