Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis
Celebrates Opening of
Teen Center of Excellence in Ferguson, MO
First in the Country Center to Focus on Serving Teens ages 12-18 in the St. Louis Area
The community came together to celebrate the opening of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis Teen Center of Excellence in Ferguson, Missouri. The $12.4M center is one of the first in the county and will serve all teens ages 12-18, giving them a safe and prolific place to go each day after school and during the summer.
Friends and supporters from the across the region witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony last September. In search of a solution to the problems facing too many metro area children, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis was encouraged by civic leaders to expand services in neighborhoods with extreme scarcity of quality youth programming which led to the building of a Teen Center. The 26,856 square-foot facility is strategically located on West Florissant Avenue surrounded by four school districts and houses a nutrition education center, outdoor garden, gymnasium, intellectual commons, theater, green and drama room, fitness zone, gaming room, music and art studio, innovation center and office space. BGCSTL projects serving more than 1,500 teens annually.
BGCSTL president, Dr. Flint Fowler says of the opening, “This is certainly a proud moment in the history of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. Teens deserve a safe place to grow and learn, exercise their creativity, explore their interests, and build meaningful relationships with peers and caring adults. Imagine how wonderful it would be if every community expressed this level of support for children. We are also excited to be a part of the wave of development along West Florissant including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis’s Empowerment Center and Plaza, the street scape project, Mercy Health Clinic and development of the Maline Greenway.”
Research indicates that teens can thrive in spaces structured around responsibility, belonging, and leadership modeling. Caring, trained adults are necessary to help teens build their assets and promote responsible decision-making skills. Data also shows that they want a space that provides respite from the pressures of school, family responsibilities or the danger of the streets; a place where they can have positive interactions with peers, meet new friends and take advantage of informal relationships with adults who assist them in their area of interest. The Club works with teens as they learn to think critically, use their voice in healthy ways, and discover who they are and how their purpose intersects with their world. It is through this work that hope thrives. Teens want hope – – and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis offers hope and opportunity.
Programming will include an emphasis on health & wellness (ie yoga, healthy habits, open gym), education & workforce development (ie college tours, ACT/SAT prep, tutoring, job readiness, internships and summer employment), STEAM (ie visual and performing arts, coding, app creation, robotics) and, leadership & civic engagement (ie, community service, character programs, advocacy training).
“At Boys & Girls Clubs, we know that keeping teens engaged in experiences at our Clubs, translates to positive outcomes around graduating from high school, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and preparing for a great future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We can clearly see our future, by how we set up our kids and teens to be successful. The time young people spend after-school and during the summer is critical for ensuring all kids and teens have the same opportunities and experiences. I applaud Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis for creating dynamic spaces and programming for the new Teen Center of Excellence, which will make a positive impact on young people in this community for years to come.”
Construction partners on the project were Arcturis, KAI Design and Build, and The Striler Group. The Teen Center opens in mid-November to teens. Registration/membership is $25. To register click here or call 314-335-8240.