Chisholm Boys & Girls Club to showcase renovations in ceremony - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Chisholm Boys & Girls Club to showcase renovations in ceremony

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Chisholm Boys & Girls Club will hold a grand re-opening on Wednesday afternoon to showcase some major renovations of the facility that were recently completed.

The center received a $50,000 remodeling grant from Lowe’s. The hardware retailer also sent employees from stores around the River Region to the Chisholm center as volunteers to work on the painting and construction.

Rick Jackson, Chief Professional Officer for the Boys & Girls Club of the River Region, said the volunteers revamped the front of the center, fixed the insulation and ceilings of the gym, re-laid many parts of the floor and repainted many of the walls.

“That’s not even all of it,” Jackson said. “They’re still going to come in here and re-do the lighting and put heating in the building.”

Center Director Patty Hackett said the Chisholm facility serves 430 children.

“We try to expose them to what’s outside of this area,” Hackett said. “We take them to different colleges and the performing arts center. We have a music program, an art program and a college-prep program. We try to show them what’s outside of this and what they have to do to reach those goals. We’re bringing them here and getting them off the street. It’s been a rough past year here with some of the crime.”

Col. John Richardson is a new member of the BGCRR Board of Directors. He also heads the task force to fight youth crime for the city of Montgomery. As the former director for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, he is well-versed in the importance of intervening with the youth when addressing crime.

“It’s vital,” Richardson said. “We’re seeing a trend, nationwide, of the youth crime on the rise. Centers like the Boys & Girls Club and others give the kids somewhere to go and something to do.”

He said Montgomery has a number of good resources, but there needs to be more effort to connect those resources with the more vulnerable members of the community. He said revamping the Chisholm Boys & Girls Club is a great step.

“What we’ve been doing on the task force is going and spreading the word and letting communities know what is available to them,” said Richardson.

Hackett, who has served at the center since 1996, said the changes have a greater impact on students who attend than most people realize.

“It brings up the self-esteem of these kids,” Hackett said. “There’s nothing like walking into a place that’s been re-done. When they walked in, their eyes lit up.”

She said that sort of change can save lives.

“I get to know these kids starting when they’re six,” Hackett said. “I had a young man who’s on the police force now. He came back to visit me. I have one young man who is the Marine Corps. He came by to thank me before heading off to boot camp. This means, to me, that we’re making a difference.”

The center will hold an official re-opening event on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The center is located at 2612 Lower Wetumpka Road.

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