Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida opens new teen club at Edward H. White Academy of Leadership

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida just opened a new teen club at Edward H. White Academy of Leadership, a Community Partnership School.

The two groups, with help from other community partners, renovated an entire wing of the school to launch a Boys & Girls Club Teen Center, opening on Thursday, Sept. 10 at Ed White, located at 1700 Old Middleburg Road N.

The after-school program is serving about 60 at-risk students a day to help them reach their potential.

The new $200,000 wing features a stem and robotics room, dance studio, computer lab, game room, barbershop and salon.

Tiarra Wells-Young, a teacher at Ed White, told me she joined the Boys & Girls Clubs in third grade, but her path to becoming a teacher wasn’t easy.

“I was arrested three or four times, some of those times I’m very ashamed to talk about because I knew better and I still wanted to be out into the world and out into the streets,” Wells-Young said.

It was the Boys & Girls Clubs that saved her because she found mentors that kept her out of trouble and put her on a positive path.

Boys & Girls Clubs work to give students the tools they need to succeed.

“They’ll also learn about trade school. They’ll also learn about entrepreneurship and then they’ll also be introduced to the military which is our largest employer here in Jacksonville,” Paul Martinez, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida said.

Everything inside the new wing is focused on workforce development.

Wells-Young told us that the club helped her become the teacher she is now, helping students with intellectual disabilities.

“I’m so thankful because yeah it was a dark moment that year and other years too, but the thing about the Boys & Girls Clubs, they were always the ones to shine the light on me at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

The organization told us that 97% of club teens are expected to graduate from high school.

If you would like to find out how to get involved you can visit their website: https://www.bgcnf.org/