CLEVELAND — With a recent uptick in gun violence across Northeast Ohio, the Boys & Girls Club is working to create a safe space for teens. The club will unveil a $20,000 renovation of its teen room on Tuesday.
Associates from the furniture company Aaron’s helped transform an empty space into a desired destination for local youth by building new furniture and installing new electronics and appliances.
The Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio was awarded a $20,000 grant from Aaron’s to renovate the chapter’s Broadway location.
“A lot of our stores are in the communities, so we love giving back to the communities, which is awesome for us,” said Mickel Davis, Aaron’s Divisional Coordinator.
This is the store's 47th community transformation nationwide since 2015. The good deed is helping the boys and girls club team continue to live out their mission by making the club a desired destination for local youth from 3 to 6 p.m.
“The space needed a renovation and so the timing couldn't have been better,” said Allen Smith, the chief programs officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio.
Smith said when it came to deciding how the space should be renovated, staff enlisted a group of teens to provide their opinions and feedback about what they wanted to see in the space.
“Making sure that we have a space that is relevant for them, reflective of their interests and likes, and again, accommodating. It's comfortable. It's warm. We wanted to make sure that we had that because in particular, in this neighborhood, it's not always as safe as we would like for it to be,” said Smith.
With the renovation, the club is hoping to boost membership and provide teens a safe and healthy space to thrive in the community.
“The hope is that in in the process of us having them here, the interaction with the positive role model and or a quality program, we will be able to impact them so that they're able to go out and make better choices about the areas and situations they find themselves in.”
Smith said he's looking forward to seeing the reactions on the kid's faces when they see the new space.
"The kids are peeking in the windows as we speak and they want to see what's happening in the space," Smith said. All the equipment is here, the games are here, and it's now their space. That's the best thing for me."
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