Inside Stories

Delegation Celebrates $2M Bond for Boys & Girls Club

State Reps. Rady Mom, Vanna Howard, and Rodney Elliott pose for a photo with members and staff at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell

Lowell — With the successful inclusion of an amendment in the House version of the Economic Development Bond Bill, it is evident that the House believes in what the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell is destined to become.

As part of the bonding bill passed on Thursday, June 27, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell will be eligible for a $2 million bond authorization for its continuing Believe & Become project. The bond authorization comes in addition to the more than $14 million the club has raised privately.

Leading up to the Economic Development Bond Bill, delegation members had been discussing ways they could help the club reach its goal of $23.5 million. The result was an amendment co-filed by state Rep. Rady Mom, Vanna Howard and Rodney Elliott.

“We are very grateful to our Lowell representatives, and the six co-sponsors, for their leadership in supporting our Believe & Become project. They are champions for our kids and teens. The proposed funding is critical to continuing this ambitious project. It is also important for our kids and teens to see that our delegation is fighting for their needs.” Joe Hungler, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell said.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell’s ongoing Believe & Become project is a comprehensive capital campaign that aims to support the club’s vision to end generational poverty in Lowell. Programs and services at the Club are designed to open doors, fill in the gaps left by barriers to equitable resources, and provide the support needed to accomplish their goals.

The Believe & Become project will allow the Boys & Girls Club to ultimately double the Club’s capacity to 600 youth per day.  This facility will provide for basic needs, such as healthy meals, a safe environment and mental health support, as well as programs that are shown to support their academic success, teach leadership skills, and help build a pathway to becoming life and workforce ready.

The current construction phase of the project includes a new Teen Center that will double the number of teens served daily in a safe and positive learning environment, career and college readiness spaces, a new music clubhouse, dance studio, multimedia studio, makerspace, and tween games room.

Future phases will include a new entrance, black box theater, upgraded educational spaces, and the renovation of the existing 50-year-old Club building at 657 Middlesex Street.

Hadassa, a teen who has been attending the club since she was 12 in 2021, explained the shared sentiment among her peers: “Throughout the teen room, there’s always chatter about how excited we are to see the changes. A bigger space means a bigger community, and that makes my heart fill with joy.”

Mom, who represents the 18th Middlesex District where the club is located, said the Believe & Become project will serve as a model for other Clubs across the commonwealth.

“This is a project with benefits for Lowell, Greater Lowell, and so far beyond,” Mom said. “I was a club kid who became a counselor here, my children were club kids, their friends were, and I know personally the tremendous impact this organization has on our local community. Believe & Become allows the club to build upon the ways it already plays a foundational role in the lives of our local youth. It is truly remarkable what the leadership at the Boys & Girls Club have set out to do.”

Joe Hungler, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell addresses the group, with State Rep. Rady Mom to his left and Sate Reps. Vanna Howard and Rodney Elliott to his right

Howard, who represents the 17th Middlesex District, previously served on the Board of Directors for the club, and is also a parent of club kids. She expressed her gratitude for House leadership and members who voted to pass the bill, which includes the amendment.

“I want to thank Speaker Mariano, Chairs Michlewitz and Parisella, Governor Healey for filing the bill originally, and to my House colleagues for voting to advance the Economic Development bill to address critical investments for residents and businesses of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including an amendment to support teens and kids access to high-quality programs to help them reach their full potential at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell,” Howard said.

Elliott, who represents the 16th Middlesex District, joined in recognizing the importance of the Believe & Become campaign.

“This is an important investment in our future generations. The Boys & Girls Club provides essential resources and support for children & teens to reach their full potential. By providing a safe and nurturing environment, and expanding teen programs, we are shaping young lives, ensuring that every child has the necessary tools to learn, grow and thrive,” Elliott said.

In addition to the Lowell delegation, six other members of the House of Representatives joined in support of the amendment as cosponsors including: Colleen Garry of Dracut, Tram Nguyen of Andover, Jim Arciero of Westford, Simon Cataldo of Concord, and Marjorie Decker of Cambridge, and Marc Lombardo of Billerica all joined the Lowell delegation in support of the project as cosponsors.

An Act relative to strengthening Massachusetts’ economic leadership will next be given consideration by the Senate. After the legislation passes, the project will then need to be added to the governor’s capital plan, which the delegation will work to ensure happens.

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