CLEVELAND — It was a big day for the Cleveland Boys and Girls Club on Broadway Avenue after a country music star paid them a visit to announce he'd be helping them out.
“I love that a lot of my friends are here, we play basketball here and there’s a lot of activities you can do here,” says 14-year-old Jalen Jones.
Jones has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club for several years. His favorite thing to do there, by far, is play basketball. There’s just one problem for Jalen and everyone else at the club, the court has seen better days.
“It’s very slippery,” says Jones.
Chief Programs Officer Allen Smith says, “This gym has not had a major renovation in a number of years.”
The good news is, that’s all about to change. Country music star Kane Brown stopped by before his concert at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Sunday, checkbook in hand.
“There’s no telling where I would have been, staying out of trouble if I didn’t have sports,” says Brown. “I love basketball and we get to give these kids a new gym today and I think it’s amazing. I hope they love it.”
Even though the four-time American Music Awards winner isn’t from Cleveland, he’s been helping out Boys and Girls Clubs across the country. He’ll be paying for a renovation to the gym in Cleveland, including a new floor, audio and electrical work, backboards, bleachers, paint, and a new scoreboard.
“This is super exciting for us to be able to have this and we’re just very grateful to him and his team,” says Smith. “It’ll really make this a first-class facility that people can use for various events and purposes.”
Brown says, “Hopefully it makes more kids want to come just to have a new court. Play some basketball and stay off the video games.”
They’re hoping to have the makeover complete in a few months. Brown plans to make a return visit during NBA All-Star Weekend in late February to reopen this wish come true for Jalen and the rest of the boys and girls.
“It means a lot because it shows that he cares about other people,” says Jones. “It just means a lot to me.”
The Boys and Girls Club is hoping the new gym will help bring more kids into the program, but it’s only the first step. The gymnasium is one of several projects they have planned with their kitchen being next on the list.
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