A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Sept. 26 to commemorate the construction of a new youth center in north Casper, The All-American Center for Youth. The new building will be constructed on K Street behind the Boys & Girls Club near the skate park. A new North Casper Elementary School will also be constructed in the neighborhood.
“The community came together with this project,” said Henry Silva, a co-chair on the committee overseeing the construction of The All-American Center for Youth. The facility will house a boxing center and classrooms promoting financial literacy. The center will offer guidance to kids who might not have an existing support network.
Clayton Jensen, president of the Casper Boxing Club, said, “From lower juvenile crime rates and lower rates of teenage drug use to lower juvenile incarceration rates and less tax dollars being spent on all these things, boxing clubs have a positive impact on our communities.”
Jensen went on to quote former club member Melissa Torres, who said that “if more kids could be in the gym and off the streets and experience the self-dignity, respect, self-discipline, mentorship, and leadership that that this Club offers, they would reap many rewards.”
“Bill Daniels,” referring to a late Casper businessman/philanthropist whose Daniels Fund is a major contributor and supporter of the project, “was a boxer himself, who believed in the lessons of the sport,” Jenson concluded.
The financial literacy classes, the other major offering of the center, are the contribution of the school district. “The number one cause of the breakup of families is financial stress,” said Dr. Joel Dvorak, superintendent of the Natrona County School District. “I want every student to come away with a credit in financial literacy.”
Community Relations Director of the Boys and Girls Club, Greta Maxfield, said the center will be part of a new community for youth. “We’re really trying to create a campus here,” she said. With the new grade school being constructed in the area, Maxfield said, “It’s outreach to an unreached population.” She added.
Present at the ceremony were financial contributors Sparky Turner of the Daniels Fund and Mick and Susie McMurry. The $3.9 million project also received financial support from the City of Casper and WN McMurry Construction and affiliated companies.
Construction on the 22,000 square-foot All American Center for Youth is expected to be completed in the spring or early summer of 2013.