July 5, 2012 in Washington Voices

Youth center expands its focus

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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The BE GREAT Club of East Central Spokane is located at 2900 E. First Ave. Call (509) 536-8152 or visit www.bgcspokanecounty.org

East Central’s Libby Teen Center has a new name.

It’s now the BE GREAT Club of East Central Spokane and it’s still operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Spokane County.

The teen center has been run by the Boys and Girls Clubs since 2007. It was closed recently while the organization reassessed its role in East Central Spokane.

“We closed down the club for about six months and did a community evaluation to make sure we were doing what’s best for that neighborhood,” said Erin McGann, special event and marketing director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Spokane County. “We found that many neighborhood teens saw Libby mostly as a drop-in basketball court; they didn’t use the educational programming.”

McGann said the agency also found that kids as young as middle school were having a difficult time staying in school and finding safe places to hang out after school.

“We have changed the programming a little bit to fit a broader age range,” said McGann, adding that the BE GREAT Club of East Central Spokane will be open to kids from fifth grade through 12th grade.

One aim will be keeping middle and high school students on track to graduate.

The renaming was celebrated Friday, the same day the organization announced the opening of the Comcast Technology Center, an improved computer lab available to members.

“Comcast has been a huge supporter of us and have donated money for technology to all our clubs,” McGann said.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Spokane County is currently serving more than 4,000 area youth ages 6 to 18 in three clubs: the Northtown branch, the Lisa Stiles-Gyllenhammer Branch in Mead, and now the BE GREAT Club of East Central Spokane. Annual membership is $10.

Libby Teen Center served about 60 students on a regular basis, and McGann said the club is hoping to enroll closer to 100 now that the club has a new name and a slightly different focus.

“One advantage we have here is that we have the whole building,” McGann said. “It’s been a little slow since we reopened, but it’s beginning to pick up.”


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