New "Safe Space" For National Boys and Girls Club Week

Mar 7, 2016

This is National Boys and Girls Club Week and the celebration peaks on Thursday at 500 Genesee Street in Rochester.

Executive Director Dwayne Mahoney told WXXI the club is near the end of two years of renovations, adding 10,000 sq. ft. of space, and renovating another 18,000 to create more room for programming for kids.

"We added an arts studio, dance studio, recording studio, also an additional computer lab."

The current computer lab houses an accelerated reading program. One new room is tablet room with ipads.

"The building had not been updated in 20-25 years, since Mr. McCurdy had the club moved to that particular location in the early 80s,” said Mahoney.

That’s when the Rochester Boys and Girls Club moved from the hockey rink on Ford Street. Gilbert McCurdy and F. Ritter Shumway led the move to a former meat market at 500 Genesee Street. Mahoney says the architect who renovated the market back then worked on this update.

Mahoney said he hopes boys and girls will check out the themed activity days.

"…everything from Fitness Fridays to Teen Outreach on Tuesdays. On Thursday, we're highlighting the club with a grand opening. One of our main goals is to drive membership and get as many kids as we possibly can - who aren't in an afterschool program, into an afterschool program."

Mahoney points out the core mission for Boys and Girls Clubs is to provide safe space for children after school.

"The renovations hopefully put the club into a new era and it's a time for us to continue to let the community know that the club is a safe place for kids. It always has been."

Mahoney says they will never forget those affected by the August 19th shooting outside the club, and he thanked the community for its support.

"I was out there along with several of my staff in the midst of that night on August 19th. The community is extremely sad for the families of the three boys that we lost. I know I will never forget them.”

He also appreciates community support, “Everybody from City Hall to law enforcement to the media. It was something that happened in front of our location but wasn't necessarily targeted at the Boys and Girls Club.”

Celebrating Dr. Seuss
Credit BGC Rochester

Mahoney reminds parents that the usual 11-dollars a year membership is waived this week, and he hopes many boys and girls will visit. Themed activities are planned each day, and on Thursday, club alumni will join community leaders for reopening ceremonies.