Boys & Girls Club unveils new College and Career Center

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dave Smith knows the Boys and Girls Club like the back of his hand.

“We'd walk to and from the club, I started playing basketball in the club,” Smith said. “The club was another family.”

The 66-year-old, KC-native grew up in the Boys & Girls Club, and he shared his memories of everything from baseball to music.

“I had to sing at the club, embarrassing,” Smith said with a laugh.

Now he’s the president of the organization, and he’s seen the changes.

A big change this year is a new addition to get teenagers ready for college and the workforce.

“I know the value of workforce employees and that's an issue facing our communities, and our country workforce quality,” Smith said.

The center, located at the J&D Wagner Unit, was unveiled late Wednesday afternoon. It was made possible through a partnership with The Hartford.

“We have staff who are here to provide that extra support and push. Because as you know senioritis is a real thing,” College and Career Program Director Kelley Barnes said.

Teenagers across the city are able to come to the new center and get help on resumes, interview skills and college preparedness.

Barnes said many of the students will be first-generation college students.

“They need that extra layer of support to help them with ACT prep and college applications and resume writings,” Barnes said. “Everybody's going after this stuff and we want our kids to be just as competitive as everybody else.”

Thirty centers will be in Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. Kansas City was third to receive the center.

For Smith, this center is more than just a place to prepare these young teenagers for college, but for life.

“I hate waste... When we don't help them to be all they can be, that's a waste,” Smith said. “The talent that they possess and they're bright hopeful attitudes, they're some contributions to the world in these clubs.”

The center is open Monday through Friday. It’s also open on Saturdays twice a month. If you are interested in learning more about the center, click here.

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