MIDDLEBURY — Thursday, the Middlebury Boys and Girls Club teen members walked into a refurbished teen center.

“Aaron’s has been here since Monday. It’s part of a three-year partnership between Aaron’s and the Boys and Girls Club of America where they travel around the country, and they are refreshing Keystone’s Club and Teens Centers,” Lindsay Saunders, director of development at Middlebury Boys and Girls Club, said. “Keystone’s Clubs is a leadership program for teens at Boys and Girls Clubs. This is our teen center here in Middlebury, and this is their 26th teen center refresh”

Saunders said the project was valued at $26,000.

The teen outreach program is very important to the Boys and Girls Club in Middlebury, according to Saunders.

“Anytime that we have the opportunity to make our space more engaging and more inviting for teens, it’s really important for us, so that’s why it’s huge that Aaron’s is supporting us in that way,” he said.

“It feels awesome. The kids are our future, and we want to make sure they have a safe place with all the things going on in the world. We want to make sure that they have a place that they can feel comfortable, and where they can learn and really focus on themselves to develop themselves to be future leaders,” said Jason Campbell, Regional Manager for Aaron’s.

This is Campbell’s second time renovating a Boys and Girls Club.

“It’s awesome. The kids when they first walk in they just go crazy, they scream and they are all excited,” he said. “It’s trying to get more members into these clubs, and make them want to come to the club, and do well with their school work. Again it’s for their future so I feel really great about it.”

What did the teens at the Boys and Girls Club receive?

“Brand new to the space is the flat screen TV, sofas, the basketball shot, new games, new tables, a pool table, a ping-pong table, and they got a new refrigerator, and a new mini fridge,” Saunders said. “They also provided a lot of different cooking supplies for the Teen Dinner programs. We serve meals to teens two nights a week in Middlebury, so that will directly support that program. There is new lighting, new equipment - $26,000 worth of equipment.”

Teens from the program ask all the time for new furniture, according to Saunders.

“I think more than anything, it’s just going to make them feel more at home and comfortable, and just giving them a place they want to be, that they want to hang out in and be with their friends,” he said. “Just getting them into the door (is important), so that we can then invite them to participate in small groups, and in leadership development and community service projects, and everything else that the club offers teens. This is just one more support in helping us engage them, and get them into the club.”

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