Boys & Girls Club opens teen center at East Tech

On Tuesday, August 22, 2017 East Tech High School became the ninth CMSD school to serve as a Boys & Girls Club site, joining John Adams and Lincoln-West high schools and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Michael R. White, Andrew J. Rickoff, Mound, Luis Muñoz Marin and Walton schools. Nationally, Boys & Girls Clubs have moved from operating stand-alone centers to co-existing alongside partners like the  school district.

The East Tech Teen Center will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays and serve young people from the neighborhood. Club and school officials say the East Tech center will provide an after-school sanctuary for teenagers concerned about gang violence and other danger on neighborhood streets.

The Boys and Girls Club teen center at East Tech.
The Boys and Girls Club teen center at East Tech.

“We know teens are most likely to get in trouble during the hours right after school, and we are excited to offer positive alternatives to risky behavior,” said Ron Soeder, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

Richard Starr, director of a Boys & Girls Club at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority’s King Kennedy property, will also oversee the East Tech Teen Center. Starr graduated from East Tech in 2007.

“The idea with the club at East Tech was to really let the space be the draw. Once the kids start coming to the club, then we will introduce programming and promote safe socialization,” Starr said. “Opening a club at East Tech has been a dream of our for a long time and this location we fill a much-need niche for the kids that loiter or linger around after school.”

Starr adds that the club at East Tech will hopefully help alleviate some stress and worries for parents.

Club members will have use of a new “learn and play center,” where they can go after school to work on computers, study, get in a game of pool or table tennis and play board games.

The former library was renovated through the NBA Cares program. League and Cavaliers representatives dedicated the facility in June, during the NBA Finals.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland operates 16 locations in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. Last year, the clubs served more than 7,000 kids, emphasizing healthy lifestyles, academic success, character and citizenship.