Grant to help bring update to Boys and Girls Club Family in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A critical community center in Springfield received a big boost on Wednesday as the city looks to make the streets safer for teens amid ongoing gun violence.
Updates will soon get underway at the Boys and Girls Club Family Center on Acorn Street in Springfield, thanks to a new grant.
“With the early education and care, EEOST. It’s a ‘early education out of school time’ grant. It’s a $500,000 grant to help us with our deferred maintenance and also for our upcoming programs, expansion of our capital expansion program,” said Keshawn Dodds, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club Family Center.
With the grant, there will be updates made all across the family center, including replacing wooden doors and updating the lighting. With that and American Rescue Act dollars at a state and city level, the organization has received over one million dollars. Dodds told Western Mass News that they’re looking forward to better serving Springfield’s kids with the upgrades, expanded programming, and eventually more space with an expansion they hope to break ground on soon.
“Since COVID, 2020, we were exposed. We had to reduce our numbers. We noticed this current building wasn’t able to serve the community, so with the expansion, we have the issue of our teens can’t mix with our adolescents and they can’t come in until 6:30, so with the expansion, they will be able to come in right after school at 2:30, be in their own wing in the upstairs, and be able to service their program get in their programs that they need,” Dodds explained.
The announcement comes as the city unveiled universal city passes this week as a way to combat gun violence. Springfield City Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce said 5,000 passes will be given to kids and teens to access community centers, including the Boys and Girls Club, with more printed as needed.
“Grants like this can only help our footprint helping more teens and the community.” Click-Bruce said. “My whole thing is being proactive and not reactive.”
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