CEO of the Boys and Girls Club, Tara Marlow, said the organization is calling the project the Keystone Club Teen Refresh, which is meant provide a fun and secure space for teens and Keystone Club members who are working toward academic success, career preparation and community service.
“We are all about making sure that it is a safe place and space for our teens to keep them off the streets and have an environment to where they come and have fun youth development,” Marlow said.
The new space, which is being made possible by a $20,000 grant from Aaron’s, will contain arcade style games, modern TVs, video game consoles and other recreational activities. Mickel Davis, division coordinator for Aaron’s northeast operations, said they wanted to reward Keystone members at the club for their hard work by fulfilling their desires for their new space.
“We came to them with a discovery and talked about what their vision was for the room, and we’re the ones that are here to make that vision come true for them,” he said.
Marlow added, using their voices to make decisions, even for something as simple as the teen room, is a skill she and the staff promote for confidence and success.
“It’s extremely important for them to utilize their voice because often times their voice gets ‘lost in the sauce’ if you will. And for youth today, we want to make sure they know that their voice matters,” Marlow said.”
Teens are not allowed into the room until it is revealed to them on Thursday afternoon, but the adults working on the project said they are excited to see the reactions.
“It’s awesome to be able to give back to the communities we work in and we know where a lot of these clubs are at and the difficulties and the location and safety that they have,” Davis said. “So we love the Boys and Girls Club because it gives them a great place to come that’s safe and is something they’ll also tell their friends about and enjoy coming to.”
Marlow said the new teen room will also have a huge impact in the community, particularly offering teens in nearby Desoto Bass and the Hilltop community access to a safe place to learn, interact with their peers and develop life skills.
The renovated room will be revealed to the community Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Boys and Girls Club.