HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — You’ll find the Boys and Girls Club in cities across the country, but they got their start in Hartford 160 years ago. Now, they’re celebrating the milestone by breaking ground on something big.
It all started in Hartford in 1860. Now, in 2020, they’ll break ground on a new Boys and Girls club location to serve the city’s South End.
“As the country’s first Boys and Girls Club, this is exciting,” said Hartford Boys and Girls Club president Sam Gray.
The project is made possible by big donations from their neighbors: The Hartford, Stanley Black and Decker, and Bank of America, all pledging millions of dollars to the project.
“The corporate community is really rallying behind this purpose,” said Gray.
The new Boys and Girls club is expected to serve 1,500 kids every year
“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the Boys and Girls club,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. The city donated the land located behind Burr School. “This is a neighborhood where this was really needed.”
It’s a milestone so special, Governor Ned Lamont declared it “Boys And Girls Club Day” in Connecticut.
“We know what this club means to them, it says ‘we love you’,” said Lamont. “Boys and Girls club is a gem. I was happy to be here and cheer them on today.”
Greg Davis serves on Boys and Girls Club of Hartford board and knows firsthand the difference the club can make. He first started attending at 6-years-old.
“I think what made the difference for me, we were all labeled as underprivileged, but because we had the Boys and Girls Club we never felt that way.
We had a place that was our second home, we had mentors, we had a gym, we had a game room, we had a library, and I felt like we had more than anyone else in the greater Hartford community.
I never knew that I was underprivileged.”– Greg Davis, Board Member of Boys and Girls Club of Hartford
Boys and Girls Club will break ground in Hartford’s south end this spring.