Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore (BGCMB) can now serve up to 57% more youth in the Westport community with the debut of a second location inside Westport Academy. The 1,350 square foot space on the school’s second floor will serve up to 45 youth ages 6 – 12 and allow us to rededicate our Westport Homes Club as a teen center to meet the developmental needs of youth ages 13 – 18.
The project to launch the new space wasn’t without challenges. Renovation efforts started in 2019 when Under Armour teammates volunteered to remove orange shag carpet and other eyesores in a project dubbed “Operation Clean Slate.” Progress continued with the installation of new flooring and ceiling tiles, updates to electrical and lighting, repairs to doors and windows, and a fresh coat of paint. The project was on track to welcome members into the space beginning in summer 2020 when the pandemic brought everything to an abrupt halt.
The room remained vacant through the 2020-21 school year with BGCMB continuing to provide programming out of the Westport Homes Club we’ve operated since 2009. As it looked certain that in-person learning would return in fall 2021, BGCMB renewed our efforts to ready the space in time for fall programming.
Volunteers assembled on September 18 to bring the project across the finish line by building furniture, assembling equipment, and hanging décor with project management support from Heart of America. The result is a clean, welcoming space conducive to Boys & Girls Club after-school programming and available to Westport Academy teachers during the school day. The focal point of the space is a STEAM lab that includes mobile workbenches, a MakerBot 3D printer, and Rok Blocks Mobile STEM Lab.
“This partnership will help us build a closer relationship with Westport Academy teachers for things like individualized tutoring and access to report card data so we can tailor our services to the areas where kids need specific help,” explained director of programs & expansion Anna Piccirilli.
The Westport campus transformation was made possible with support from the Aegon Transamerica Foundation, Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, Kirk Family Foundation, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, Under Armour, Windsor Electric and Westport Academy staff.