A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Thursday, April 1, in Downtown Burbank to celebrate the opening of a new main clubhouse for the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley.
The state-of-the-art facility, located at 300 East Angeleno Avenue, was acquired after a decade-long search for a larger building for the BGC of Burbank and GEV to call home. In attendance was a small group of community members, including Burbank Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes, City Council Members Sharon Springer and Nick Schultz, BGC of Burbank and GEV CEO Shanna Warren, and Members of Cusumano Real Estate Group.
Acquisition of the new location was due in large part to the generosity of the Cusumano Family, who offered a $1 million donation for the project. The Cusumanos have been longtime supporters of local youth programs, and Mike Cusumano expressed his happiness in being able to contribute to an organization dedicated to providing meaningful programs for children in Burbank.
“It’s so exciting to see such a fabulous new facility for the youth of our community,” Cusumano said. “One of the things that’s so special and so unique about the Boys & Girls Club is that they serve the entire community. So all of the youth in our community will really benefit from this…That’s probably the element of it that we think is really the most important.”
The building was previously a Salvation Army location, and after renovations it has many new amenities such as an indoor gymnasium, an industrial kitchen, and areas for a STEAM lab and a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.
The Club was in need of an updated space due to a tremendous amount of growth since its beginnings in 1995, when an old firehouse on Buena Vista Street was converted to the original main clubhouse. Whereas in early years the Boys & Girls Club staff served 75 kids a day, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak they had a total of 23 locations serving a diverse group of over 3,000 local youths.
“We’ve got every nationality, we’ve got every language [involved in the Club]…to be here today, I never saw that,” Tim Murphy, co-founder of the BGC of Burbank and GEV, said. “[At the beginning] we were just trying to… save kids on a string and a prayer. So this is just incredible.”
Warren started out as a volunteer for the organization and has remained on staff for almost 21 years. She predicts that the spacious and modernized main clubhouse will be a large benefit to the children of the Boys & Girls Club and can be a place for future expansion.
“This is the perfect location for us,” Warren said. “It will allow us to be able to serve kids of different age ranges so they have dedicated programming space, which we’ve never had before, and it will also allow us to continue to grow which is really important.”
Warren described her state as “very emotional…[and] very grateful” for local support as the BGC of Burbank and GEV has achieved the opportunity to advance their services and provide for the community more profoundly than ever.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do what we’ve done…without our amazing partners and I am looking forward to seeing those relationships continue to strengthen and to make new partnerships,” Warren said.