Boys and Girls Club of Columbia ready to welcome kids with new facility
COLUMBIA - The Boys and Girls Club of Columbia is doubling the size of their location off of Business Loop just in time for the new school year.
The 14,000 square foot expansion project will include a brand new gymnasium, cafeteria and recording studio.
The new space will be used for activities like basketball camps, clinics and culinary classes for youth in the community.
"With increased poverty and increased crime in our community, kids need a safe and affordable place to go after school, where they can build positive relationships and have mentors and have the support that they need in their lives to stay on track and avoid risky behaviors and really set some goals," Executive Director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia Valorie Livingston said.
The club pulled ideas for programs from other clubs and the surrounding community to see what resources are already offered.
Directors said they hope the expansion and location next to Hickman High School helps target teens that have slowly trickled out of the program.
"So this expansion project has been very strategic to try to serve more of the 13-18 year old youth. To provide them programming activities and space that are age appropriate to keep our arms around them, keep them on track to graduate on time and explore careers and post-secondary education and skill traits," Livingston said.
The club's two year-long fundraising efforts drew support from local companies like Shelter Insurance, which helped fund the new gymnasium.
Club coordinators said they're looking forward to the community's reaction.
"We hope for a lot of excitement and positive energy on Monday from parents and club members. I hope our parents and members will be very proud to be part of our expansion and organization," Boys and Girls Club Director of Operations Deronne Wilson said.
BGC will open its doors to 150 kids on Monday, but hopes to at least double that number as the year goes on.