The Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier announced its capital campaign Thursday to improve the club building at Positive Place and build a new gym at the Joseph F. Walters Club off Memorial Park Drive in Gainesville.
“The goal is to build three buildings that are going to be able to serve youth and increase the number of youth that we serve each and every day,” Chief Executive Officer Steven Mickens with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier said.
The club located on Positive Place, also called the Downey Club, will undergo renovations to give the club a brand new 25,000 sq ft. building. The new additions will allow the organization to serve an additional 350 kids and will include a brand-new gymnasium and space dedicated to career-path development for students.
“We’re going to have academic environments where we can offer tutoring and enrichment opportunities to our kids here, as well as opportunities to get kids more engaged in healthy lifestyles and character and citizen development,” Mickens said.
Currently, the club is on a waitlist for 310 children who want to join but are unable to due to the constraints of the overgrown location.
“The club has been due for this for a long time now and we’re excited that we’re in a position to be able to bring that to a reality,” Mickens said.
The club has wanted to grow to become a strong pillar in the community because the need for growth has been ever-present, Mickens said. The focus on academic success and growth will not only build well-rounded students, but will also guide kids down a path to be well-rounded citizens in the community.
“We know the kids that are going to go to college and technical college are going to be extremely, extremely successful. It’s the other group of kids that go right into the world of work, and they’re 18-years-old and they’re still trying to learn about life,” Mickens said. “We’re so confident about the experiences here at the Boys and Girls Clubs, that they are going to be well prepared, well mannered, and be good employees. And that’s how we’re going to sustain this community,” he said.
The financial goal of the club was to raise $10 million for the renovations. So far, the club has raised 83 percent of their goal.
“Let’s close this out and let’s make these projects a reality,” Board Member and Capital Campaign Chair Greg Katulka said. “Because in the end, when we do this, this is going to be a club where our kids come here, again, they feel safe, they know they’re being impacted, and it’s a place that will stay with them for the rest of their lives and they’ll be proud of that. But it really will be a place that our community can truly be proud of.”
For more information and to find out how to donate to the capital campaign, visit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier online.