New Belle Glade teen center nears finish line

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Tammy Jackson-Moore
BELLE GLADE — Guardians of the Glades leader Tammy Jackson-Moore keeps a close eye on happenings in town, and she recently updated fellow citizens via Facebook about the new facility swiftly taking shape on Southwest 10th Street. “If you haven’t had an opportunity to see the Glades-area Boys & Girls Club Teen Center construction happening, here it is!” she wrote in a post on social media last week.

BELLE GLADE — Construction of the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center to serve teens and families in the Belle Glade area is nearing completion, with the new center planned to open sometime before the end of March.

Ground was broken in April 2018, when the fundraising campaign kicked off by former Palm Beach Mayor Lesly S. Smith and her daughter Danielle H. Moore had raised enough to cover building the roughly $6 million edifice. Many other local philanthropists and charities contributed also and are now working toward establishing the $4 million endowment fund that will build its programming and sustain the Boys & Girls Clubs programs operated through the center.

Tammy Jackson-Moore, leader of the Guardians of the Glades organization, gave a progress report last week.

“Our children will finally have an opportunity to participate in programming at a state-of-the-art facility that they can be proud of. My children, now in their early to mid-30s, were B&G children and they attended the original teen center,” she said.

“I remember having conversations with organization leaders in those days about a new facility for our youth. Although several years later, I am glad that the vision is becoming a reality. This is great for the community, and I’m looking forward to the grand opening!”

The two-story, 13,860-square-foot, state-of-the art clubhouse is being built on land donated by Palm Beach County that formerly was the site of a gymnasium. The new teen center will house a digital media studio, makerspace, technology lab, culinary arts studio and career readiness hub. (A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing.)

“Thanks to everyone who has worked on this for the wonderful children in our community! Much appreciated!” Ms. Jackson-Moore posted.

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