BELLE GLADE — On Wednesday, April 18, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County (BGCPBC) hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site where the new Smith & Moore Family Teen Center will open in Belle Glade. More than 120 donors, staff, elected officials and supporters attended the ceremony for the career readiness facility.

The organization has reached the $6 million goal of phase one of its capital and programming endowment campaign, triggering the beginning of construction.

Thanks to the private support as well as a generous donation of land and a gymnasium by the Palm Beach County Commission, the facility will be constructed without debt to the organization. BGCPBC is now moving to phase two of the $10 million campaign and is seeking to raise another $4 million that will go toward an endowment fund that will help keep the facility running in perpetuity.

Special to The Sun/Courtesy of BGCPBC
Breaking ground for the new Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County Teen Center in Belle Glade on Wednesday, April 18, are (from left) Nancy Bolton, donor/namesakes Danielle H. Moore and Lesly S. Smith, Belle Glade Mayor Steve Wilson and the Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Jaene Miranda.

Former Town of Palm Beach Mayor Lesly S. Smith and her daughter, Danielle H. Moore, current president of the Palm Beach Town Council and chairwoman of the board of BGCPBC, announced a $1 million challenge grant that will match dollar-for-dollar all donations to support the endowment fund. They are the namesake of the building after giving a lead gift of $1 million to kick off the campaign four years ago.

“Through the kindness and generosity of many, we are building a facility that will allow so many young people to experience new beginnings and a future that has no boundaries,” said Ms. Moore. “They will receive academic support, preparation for post-secondary credentials and be able to explore careers in the arts, music, science and technology, culinary arts, construction trades and so much more. Our hope is that our supporters will continue giving to help ensure that the doors of the club will never close.”

Mike and Julie Connors also gave a $1 million challenge grant, and many people, foundations and businesses donated to match the funds. In addition, UTC Climate, Controls & Security donated $500,000 toward the campaign.

“These families and corporation partners have been pivotal in providing the necessary resources for us to reach more youth for generations to come,” said Jaene Miranda, president and CEO of BGCPBC. “It is our goal to serve over 900 teens annually from the Glades communities, increasing our impact by over 200 percent.”

Special to The Sun/Courtesy of BGCPBC
An artist’s rendering shows what the atrium area of the new Smith & Moore Family Teen Center will look like.

The two-story, 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the art clubhouse is designed by Raul Ocampo & Associates. Serving the community for nearly 50 years, BGCPBC offers life-changing programs to more than 8,500 underserved children ages 6-18 at 13 clubs throughout Palm Beach County after school and during the summer.

“The children we serve have the misfortune to be born into their circumstances – it was not a choice,” said Ms. Smith. “They grow to recognize these circumstances as teens, but fortunately, their dreams of wanting more for themselves and their families are not dashed. So many families will be positively impacted in the Belle Glade area through our efforts, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

“Our goal is to be a safe outlet for kids during non-school hours where they can express themselves and become productive, caring, responsible citizens,” said Mark Casale, the clubs’ vice president of philanthropy. “We aim to provide a world-class club experience that assures success is within reach of every member who walks through the club doors and to give them the resources to graduate high school and have a plan for the future.”