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“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County (BGCSLC) took a single step that started a journey 25 years ago with a small group of people that recognized the need to provide youth in the community with a guided path of success. A new thousand-mile journey with another single step begins on Jan 1, 2021, with the opening of the sixth Clubhouse for BGCSLC which will also be the largest in the state of Florida and in the top 5 in size for the United States.
In partnership with Westside Church in Fort Pierce, BGCSLC will access three buildings totaling nearly 55,000 square feet and 25 acres of outdoor recreational area. Younger Clubkids will have access to more play areas and multiple rooms for various programming already inherent in the Club’s curriculum of education while teens will have more opportunity for workforce readiness programs and industry certifications all in one location.
“Students attending school in the St. Lucie Public School District’s Green Zone are eligible for transportation to the new Westside Club after their school lets out,” said Melanie Willes BGCSLC Chief Operating Officer. “Having any Club in this location is a win-win for families and parents but to have a club on a campus this size opens the door to do so much more in our mission to serve ClubKids”
“The opportunities are endless in ways we can support more teens than we ever have before,” said Leslie Kristof, BGCSLC board chair and president of Keiser University’s Port St. Lucie campus. “Last year we had several teens receive their first paycheck ever. That is something we need to perpetuate and grow in our Clubs.
Recently BGCSLC acquired the ‘Learn & Earn’ 32-foot food trailer to prepare the teens for several avenues of workforce preparedness with culinary skills, maintenance, budgeting, inventory control, customer service, and more. The new Westside Club allows them access to a full-sized commercial kitchen to complement the ‘Learn & Earn’ program.
“This is like hitting the Opportunity Lottery for our ClubKids,” said Will Armstead, CEO of BGCSLC. “The branches on this new tree reach far and the different ways how we can keep kids safe and help them with their own personal growth, dreams, and desires are truly endless.”
The new Westside Club will also feature the Village Partner Complex will be home to the administrative offices for BGCSLC as well as have up to 18 other offices available for partnering non-profit agencies.