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Club celebrates new facility

Standing on her tiptoes at the long banquet table to scoop salsa onto her plate, Cindy Esmeralda Herrera Rodriguez smiled as she considered the question.What does she think about the new Boys & Girls Club Community Building in Kings Beach?For starters, the bathrooms are clean and the colors are beautiful, said the fifth grader with a long ponytail and purple parka. Then there’s the art room, which she said excites her because she likes to draw flowers, food and animals.”What they did was very nice because they did it for us,” Rodriguez said.Nearly 600 people packed into the building’s gymnasium for the grand opening on Dec. 10, listening to speeches by Boys & Girls Club staffers and board members, as well as school district officials. The $10 million, 23,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open for programs on Jan. 5.Celebrating the culmination of six years of planning and fund-raising, Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Dana Fraticelli highlighted the club’s mission.”I love the Boys & Girls Club because its purpose is clear and unwavering – we inspire young people to achieve their goals,” she said, standing on the classroom-sized stage built into the gym’s east wall. “As staff members of the Boys & Girls Club, we must always strive to achieve our own full potential before we can inspire kids.”The hundreds of kids, parents and community members at Dec. 10’s opening lauded the community center’s completion as a major accomplishment for the North Shore.”Right now there’s nowhere for the kids to go, especially in the winter. This will give them a place to hang out with other kids,” parent Dave Herzog said.Chandler Isaac, 10, stood on stage and recited a speech from memory. She participates in the club’s honor choir, art classes and several dance troupes.”I know it might seem like a lot, but I still have enough time to do my homework and just hang out,” she said. “I want to thank everyone for making the Boys & Girls Club possible for me.”Many of the kids and teen-agers at the opening expressed surprise at the size and scope of the new building. In addition to the full-sized gym, the facility includes a large game room with pool tables and computers, a teen room, art room and a Building Opportunities Through Technology (BOT) learning center.Started in Tacoma, Wash., BOT combines classes on basic computer skills, multimedia like videography and recording, as well as vocational skills like computer repair.”We expected a small place, not this,” said senior Juan Moreno.Shannon Stack, 12, also said she was surprised when she saw the building.”I thought it was pretty cool because I like basketball and the gym … I was really impressed.”Stack’s classmate at North Tahoe Middle School, Heather Bervid, predicted the facility will bring kids together.”More kids will want to come here – it’s kind of nice to play [basketball] with a ton of people,” she said.Parents praised the building for offering kids and community groups a place to gather and have a good time, regardless of the weather.”This is a facility that won’t sleep,” said Bob Heacock.


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