Published September 30, 2013 15:00
St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club is pleased to announce the opening of the new Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club youth center, located at 308B Grandravine Drive. Number of community members, supporters, donors, Club youth, and staff proudly unveiled the new facility and celebrated the eight years of hard work it took to complete the center. Also part of the celebration, was Baseball Hall of Fame’s Roberto Alomar, recording artist Jully Black, and Boys and Girls Clubs Alumni Anthony Bennett, the number one overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bennett was raised in the Jane and Finch neighborhood and attended Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club as a child.
The center is a welcome addition to the community - it is the first new Boys and Club building in Toronto in 30 years and the first ever standalone, youth programming and service specific Boys and Girls Club Center. The youth center will provide a safe and supportive place for youth to experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life. The center will be open on weekdays from 1 pm - 9 pm and will be staffed by qualified, well trained leaders. The youth center is fully equipped with a dance studio, computer lab, kitchen, recording studio, lounge and weight equipment. It will also provide programs in employment readiness, drug and gang prevention, social development, arts, sports, health, nutrition, and academic assistance. It is expected that the center will serve more than 100 youth between the ages of 13-21 per week.
“St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club has been successfully running programs for children in the Jane and Finch community since 1999, but with limited space for programs, there were many youth that were not able to access our services after school,” said Chris Foster, Executive Director of St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club, “with the generous support from our sponsors, service partners and the community, our new youth centre will help us provide a more diversified range of drop in and skill based programs, increase the number of program hours available for youth, and reach more youth in this community than ever before.”
Anthony Bennett described the major role that the Boys and Girls Club played in his childhood: “I would be there six days a week. Just there, getting my schoolwork done, everybody was just pushing all the kids to stay on track, stay focused and avoid the street life.” “As the charitable arm of The Toronto Blue Jays, Jays Care Foundation has made a steady commitment to serving children and youth in communities from coast to coast,” said Rob Drynan, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation. “Our investment at St Alban’s Boys and Girls Club has provided youth with a safe place to stay physically active and develop a strong foundation for future life experiences.“
The new youth center was built with the support of the Carolyn Sifton Foundation, CIBC, Newman’s Own Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, employees of RBC Capital Markets, Rogers Youth Fund, TD, Toronto Blue Jays through Jays Care Foundation, Toronto Community Housing, United Way of Toronto, Youth Challenge Fund and staff, board of directors and friends of St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club. The Grandravine location is the newest addition the network of communities St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club currently serves. St. Alban’s was founded in 1949 and serves over 3000 members a year across the GTA, including locations in three United Way identified priority neighborhoods. Passionate, well trained staff and volunteers lead a diverse range of programs and services such as daycare, early years programs, after school programs, sports and recreation programs, youth leadership programs, summer camp, aquatic lessons, tutoring, mentoring, arts programs, employment readiness
programs and more. At St. Alban’s, we strive to maintain and strengthen our core services to children and youth while growing to meet the varied and changing needs of our communities.
To learn more, visit www.stalbansclub.ca.