MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Twins and Major League Baseball have committed more than $8 million to local and national projects.
One of them will affect 3,000 kids in North Minneapolis.
Half of The Boys and Girls Club building was vacant for years.
With the help of community leaders and baseball players the new space will be a place for kids to safely play and dream big.
For ten years, the lower level of the Jerry Gamble Boys & Girls club was empty, an unused indoor pool and more than 20,000 square feet held nothing.
“Every child is worthy of the opportunity to have a great future, and it really starts at this facility and at the boys and girls club,” said Erin Carlin.
The new re-built activity center includes a synthetic floor, a batting cage, new scoreboard, new lighting, new windows, bleachers and a stage for performing arts.
“The Twins have taken generosity to new heights by helping us facilitate the most extensive community legacy campaign in All-Star game history,” said Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
More than 3,000 kids a year use this club. For most it’s a safe haven from the violence that plagues this community.
“The club changed my path, held my hand and walked with me to the road that I am on now,” said Rio Jones.
For alumni like Rio Jones, the club helped him reach his goal of going to college.
“When you come here you have an opportunity and a chance to do something with your life,” said Roderic Gholston.
For current club member Roderic Gholston, this new space is a dream come true.
“I am a very big fan of baseball, I love that. I love basketball and the performing arts because I’m a drummer that’s another opportunity for me to do here too,” Gholston said.
A space where he can learn new skills, practice and perform without the threat of what may lurk on the outside of this safe space.
“Once you come in its just like great surrounding place. You do fantastic stuff here,” Gholston said.
Commissioner Bud Selig says investing in the Boys & Girls Club is one of the most important All-Star projects Major League Baseball is part of.
He hopes the new facility keeps the men and women who work with kids to continue helping them realize their dreams.
By the way, the annual fees for Club youth are $5.00, but no child is turned away.
With all the shootings and other violence going on that Boys & girls club is the only safe haven a lot of these kids have.
They also serve three meals a day, and that’s key for most there. Forty-three percent of the kids that use the club live in households that earn less than $10,000 a year.