Houston, TX – Today, The Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command broke ground on the new construction of a 12,500 square-foot community center in the heart of Houston’s underserved community known as Acres Home. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and State Representative Sylvester Turner were among the crowd of well-wishers who joined Area Commander, Major Chris Flanagan and The Salvation Army Greater Houston Advisory Board members at the official Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Garden City Boys & Girls Club.
“This is such a joyous occasion for so many reasons. Even though we’ve never left Acres Home, despite our old building being completely destroyed, the message we are sending today to the residents of Acres Homes, and so many other communities as well, is that The Salvation Army never gives up. Not on buildings, not on communities, not on people,” said Major Flanagan. “We’re coming back stronger than ever, and when we do, we will continue being a beacon of hope for all those who need us.”
In September of 2008, the Garden City Apartment complex was damaged so extensively by Hurricane Ike – including the building where The Salvation Army was operating its Garden City Boys & Girls Club from – that it forced the Army to permanently cease their Club operations at that location.
Instead the 121-year-old nonprofit organization, in collaboration with the Aldine Independent School District, has been utilizing Caraway Intermediate School to provide after-school programs for local youth. These include tutoring, drug and alcohol prevention, computer training and other recreational activities, on a smaller scale, due to the lack of a permanent building. The new 12,500 square-foot facility, however, will significantly increase the volume of services The Salvation Army can provide in Acres Home. Daily capacity for Boys & Girls Club members alone will increase from 80 young people a day to 300.
Scheduled for a summer of 2011 completion, this new facility will continue the Army’s tradition of over 40 years of service in the Acres Home community.
“Whenever we can fight for our children and overcome the poverty of material things, and work with them on character, strength, determination and the will to overcome, we have made great strides,” said Congresswoman Jackson-Lee. “The Salvation Army has spent long years being able to serve in this community and so what we have behind us is evidence of the importance of the relationship of the Boys & Girls Club (to this community).”
The Salvation Army’s Garden City Boys & Girls Club is one of six local Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club programs operated by the nonprofit in the Greater Houston region. Each facility focuses on providing outreach efforts for local youth including educational opportunities and annual scholarship awards for college-bound Boys & Girls Club members.
The $3.7 million Garden City investment is one of six major capital improvement projects scheduled to take place in the local region over the course of the next several years as part of The Salvation Army’s overall $21.6 million Giving for Living Capital Campaign initiative. The Capital Campaign concentrates on building initiatives in areas with the most need and also includes the construction of a new International Corps Community Center in southwest Houston; the new construction of a larger Salvation Army Emergency Shelter in Conroe; the renovation and expansion of Sally’s House; the concentration of social services, disaster relief operations, and Christmas assistance in one central location; and improvements to Houston’s Adult Rehabilitation Center.