The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, a nonprofit and official USTA Florida community tennis association dedicated to empowering at-risk youth in the urban core of Jacksonville, Fla., broke ground on its new teen center, “Club 904”, last week.
The ceremony included remarks from Jacksonville City Council President Aaron Bowman, District 8 Council Member Ju’Coby Pittman, GuideWell and Florida Blue President and CEO Pat Geraghty, and MWYF founder MaliVai Washington, as well as testimonials from ShaTeria Davis and Mauricia Brown, current MWYF students.
“I’ve had the opportunity to visit the MaliVai Washington Youth Center many times, and after each visit I leave inspired by the impact this organization has in the lives of Jacksonville’s kids,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “This public-private partnership for a new teen center will nearly double the number of young people the foundation can serve through its programming, further enhancing MWYF’s impact in historic Durkeeville and the surrounding community.”
Posted by MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation on Thursday, April 18, 2019
Scheduled to open in early 2020, Club 904 will offer services including academic assistance, college preparation, job and leadership training, a variety of life skills, and elective courses and social activities. The new 13,000+ square foot facility will be located in Emmett Reed Park, adjacent to the current youth center.
“We are honored that so many community leaders joined us to break ground on this state-of-the-art new facility,” Washington said. “Club 904 will provide much-needed resources to the community and we are excited to begin construction.”
The entire project is teen-driven, as teens in the program were involved with the architect in the initial building design, developed a name and logo, and served as hosts in this afternoon’s groundbreaking ceremony. Teens also visited the Brookline Teen Center outside of Boston, and will visit the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor, Mich., to learn best practices in teen programming. A teen board of directors will be formed and, in addition to the classes and social activities offered, will provide input into the structure and policies of the center.
To learn more visit malwashington.com/Teencenter.