The James Weldon Johnson Family YMCA celebrated the start of its highly-anticipated, $3.5 million expansion and renovation project with a special groundbreaking ceremony. More than 150 guests gathered near the project’s construction site to listen to remarks from YMCA Board of Director’s members and various leaders in the community. When complete, the Johnson Family Y will have an all-new state-of-the-art Teen Center, Pre-Teen Center, new swimming pool and renovated wellness center.
The new Teen Center will be equipped to serve over 100 students ages 14-18 with enriching opportunities through its Teen Forward program. The building will add 4,000 sq. ft. of space for this program and includes a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) laboratory, teaching kitchen, computer lab, recording studio and gaming area. This is the only after school programming of its kind offered for high schoolers in the area. “I grew up in this community and I’ve seen firsthand the impact that the Johnson Family YMCA has had on this neighborhood, especially our youth, who come to play sports, connect with peers and gain life skills,” said Dr. Irvin Cohen, Executive Director of the James Weldon Johnson Family YMCA.
In addition to the Teen and Pre-Teen center, the new swimming pool will allow the Y to expand its signature Safety Around Water drowning prevention program to reach more kids, while also creating 10-15 new jobs at the Y in Teen Center programming and aquatics. Both the Teen Center building, Pre-Teen space and the new swimming pool are slated to be complete by the end of 2018. Shown l-r at the groundbreaking is Dr. Irvin Cohen, executive director of the Johnson Family Y & VP of Social Responsibility; Quiwanaki Ramsey, Teen Program graduate; Wanda Jones,