Dozens of children joined city officials and friends to dedicate the newest Boys and Girls Club, the Poplar Grove club, Friday. It becomes the fifth club in the Salt Lake County area designed to give children a safe place to go for fun activities.
April Hewes' grandparents helped create the building the first time, when it was a small neighborhood church. Last summer, the "almost-18" Hewes helped rebuild it as part of the Civil Military Project Youth Corps. She and other youths were hired by Army Reservists from the 96th U.S. Army Regional Support Command to work with them to fix up the building, which was not only rundown, but had suffered a fire. Additional funding was provided by the BC McCabe Foundation, the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation and Salt Lake City.Youths were divided into squads headed by reservists who led the reconstruction project in place of their usual summer camp. Hewes said the youths learned to paint, tile, roof and "best of all, tear down walls."
The Poplar Grove Boys and Girls Club, 460 S. Concorde (1235 West), already has more than 200 neighborhood children registered.
The program, said center director Keni Yarbrough, is all about dreams and goals and having a purpose.
"I know how far we've come and how far we have to go in terms of serving the community," he said. "A negative attitude is there waiting to pull these kids away - away from our homes and from our communities."
Butch Holden, the regional representative for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, said that the Salt Lake area centers, under executive director Jim Jensen, are "one of the flagship organizations we have.
"What this old church has become is the realization of dreams for the community."