New After-School Center to Provide Children with Path to Success

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A unique partnership is taking root in Arlington.

The Arlington school district and Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington will build an innovative after-school center in the new Peach Elementary School, slated to open in August 2016 on Baird Farm Road with help from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation.

The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation is providing the lead gift and the first major source of the critical funding needed for the center, which will serve 1,000 students from the city’s north side.

After-school programs provide low-income and at-risk children with a path to success, said Steve Wurm, President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington. Such programs also help deter juvenile crime, he added, which peaks between 3 and 7 p.m.

“Kids enrolled in the Boys & Girls Clubs are more likely to attend school, graduate on time and go on to lead full, productive lives,” Wurm said. “Our programs keep kids off the street at a time when Mom and Dad are still at work and instead keep them engaged in character-building activities.”

Called the Great Futures Academy, the 7,000-square-foot center will offer low-income families quality after-school care, including homework help, robotics competitions, art classes, athletics, health programs and evening meals. It will even have a dedicated space for teenagers and for science and technology.

Students who participate from Nichols Junior High will receive transportation to Great Futures.

“Our biggest focus here will be academics,” Wurm said. “We will offer a lot of science and technology that kids really enjoy, like Lego-building competitions.”

Since 1993, the Boys & Girls Clubs has operated an after-school center in a portable building at Roquemore Elementary, but that center will close next year when Roquemore transitions to a fine arts academy. The new space will allow the Clubs to double the number of students it serves here.

Arlington Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said the first-of-its-kind partnership in Arlington will provide families with research- and outcome-driven care and instruction.

“The vision of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington closely aligns with the district’s mission and will provide our students with access to academic, healthy lifestyle and character programs,” Cavazos said.

Support from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, totaling $650,000, is an incredible demonstration of support for the program and we are grateful for the Foundation’s generosity and helping to rally North Arlington around the center, Wurm said.

“Our community is coming together to share resources and create partnerships to help our kids reach their full potential,” Wurm said. “We are helping Arlington children develop character and eventually become caring, responsible citizens.”