More than 8,000 kids benefit from Boys and Girls Clubs programs in Hartford. Now, a new building will expand access to 1,500 more children.
“It’s a big deal for our community, a big deal for the south end of Hartford, and a powerful example of community coming together, both public and private sector,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
The Boys and Girls Club offers afterschool programs to kids, offering a safe place and opportunities to young people like Ariana Malcolm.
“We go in the teen room and we do activities all together,” said Malcolm. “We do fun games so that we’re not just on our phones.”
In this age of technology, Malcom says kids get to engage with each other, something the middle schooler doesn’t get to do a lot in class. She says she looks forward to it at the Boys and Girls Club.
“If I didn’t have the Boys and Girls Club, I’d probably be at home, in my room locked up,” she said.
The new 27,000-square-foot building will sit behind the Burr School, near Meadow and Ledyard streets.
“This gives them the opportunity to do something positive and build toward a great future,” said Sam Gray, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford.
Go. Ned Lamont sent the message directly to the kids in the room for Thursday’s announcement.
“It’s about a building, it’s about a facility, it’s about 160 years, but we’re really all here because we love you,” said Lamont. “We’re here because we’re cheering for you. We’re here because we got your back.”
The organization is celebrating 160 years of service in 2020 and the new building in the South End will keep those efforts going.
The project will cost nearly $15 million. The fundraising efforts come with help from area companies like The Hartford.
“I just think it speaks to the character of the Hartford community where we all come together, support one another, raise a little money,” said Chris Swift, chairman and CEO of The Hartford, and Boys and Girls Club of Hartford Capital Campaign.
“When Chris took it on for us it was a tremendous, tremendous gift for us,” said Alan Krezcko, chairman of the Boys and Girls Clubs Board of Trustees.
Groundbreaking is expected in March, and the grand opening will be fall of 2021.
“I think that’s amazing,” said Malcolm. “Being here knowing there’s going to be another Boys and Girls Club for other kids too.”