New teen center ‘is your special place,’ Mayor Walsh tells the youth of Mattapan

A ‘SPECIAL PLACE’ IN MATTAPAN: Mayor Martin Walsh joined other elected officials and officials from the Boys of Girls Clubs of Boston in dedicating a new facility for teens inside the former Mattapan branch library on Hazleton Street last Saturday.A ‘SPECIAL PLACE’ IN MATTAPAN: Mayor Martin Walsh joined other elected officials and officials from the Boys of Girls Clubs of Boston in dedicating a new facility for teens inside the former Mattapan branch library on Hazleton Street last Saturday.
Officials and community members alike turned out on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the transformation of the former Mattapan Library building on Hazelton Street into the Mattapan Teen Center, a $2.65 million state-of-the-art Boys and Girls Club facility.

With this repurposing, said Josh Kraft, president of Boys and Girls Club of Boston, the center will “offer much needed programming and resources to enrich and enhance” the lives of Mattapan’s teens. The center’s focus will be on leadership training, education, performing arts, and healthy lifestyles.

“This is a great day for young people,” Mayor Martin Walsh said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Today is about giving our young people a safe place to go where they can learn, grow, and chase down their dreams. To the teens I see here today, I say to you this: This is your teen center, your special space, so please take full advantage of all it has to offer.”

The center has a dedicated homework space, kitchen, technology room, a music studio, and a performing arts area. It is expected to serve 125 teens on a daily basis. The major share of the $2.5 million spent on the renovation came from a grant from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation.

“As a young kid growing up in South Boston, the Boys & Girls Club meant everything to me. It gave me a safe place to go, grow, and learn about myself,” said Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans at the event. “It was a place where people believed in me and I’m so excited to think that the young kids in Mattapan will have an experience similar to the one I had growing up.”

The center’s director, Ron Carroll, state Representatives Dan Cullinane and Russell Holmes, City Councillors Tim McCarthy and Charles Yancey, and state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry were on hand for the opening ceremony.