ARCADIA, Fla. — “This is a pure miracle for Arcadia”, says Margaret Teuton.
For many families here in Arcadia the long wait is over. The highly anticipated Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys and Girls Club broke ground earlier today. The original facility housed next door to the historic Smith Brown Recreational Center, opened in 2018 providing children with after school programs to help them excel in school and in their community. The support from donors allowed, the organization to raise $2.6 million to transform both the original facility, and the historic Smith Brown Recreational Center into a multi purpose facility for youth.
President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club from nearby Sarasota County says, he wanted to do more for the children here in DeSoto county.
“Being apart of the community is very special to us, being apart of the Arcadia community is very special to us, and being able to serve these children, and keep them safe after school, and while they are safe, participate in our academic programs, and our character development programs its just a win for the community,” said Bill Sadlo, President and CEO of the Sarasota County Boys and Girls Club.
One community activist and co-chair of the Smith Brown Community Foundation who got this project started, says Arcadia students need this boost to their academics.
“About 36% of our students are reading on grade level, so that’s really below the state average. So this facility allows programs like Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading, tutoring, and other resources to help improve things for our kids so that their future can be bright”, said Ashley Coone, Co-Chair for the Smith Brown Community Foundation.
One great grandmother tells me this facility isn't just good news for her family, but other people's children too.
“It’s very important for all these kids that come here, I see 75 kids working on these computers, working and doing all these miracle things, kids that have probably never done homework a day in their life”, said Margaret Teuton.
Her great grand daughter says she is happy about these new tools now at her disposal.
“At school they don’t have some of the resources, and we have like laptops and stuff. I’m happy that we’re going to get a new facility because sometimes it could get really crowded in here, so if we get a new facility it’s not going to get so crowded and everything in here,” said Brooklyn Brown a member of the Boys and Girls Club.