Culture club

New Boys and Girls Club opens its doors to south Everett youth

By KATE REARDON

Herald Writer

EVERETT — Irvin Seguro didn’t have to do a lot of convincing to entice others to join his after-school crowd.

After all, the 13-year-old started hanging out at a new place that has pool tables, crafts and a teen night on Fridays. It’s a new Boys and Girls Club, the 10th to open in Snohomish County.

The new club at 525 W. Casino Road opened last week in a renovated Mukilteo School District bus barn.

It’s already becoming a hit in the neighborhood.

"It’s fun and something to do, and you can get to know more people," Irvin said. "It’s safe here."

Irvin has lived in the area for about four years and goes to Olympic View Middle School.

"There’s a whole bunch of kids who live at my apartment (complex)," Irvin said, adding that he told everyone he knew about the club. "I was, like, ‘Hey guys, want something to do?’ "

On days before the club opened, Irvin said he and friends would try to start pick-up baseball games. But Irvin said he was worried that the winter weather would start to ruin that.

The timing of the club’s opening was good, he said.

The new club is expected to attract hundreds of youngsters each year.

Boys and Girls Clubs countywide attract more than 11,500 kids for after-school and leadership programs and teen nights.

The new club is a place where kids can go for help on homework or play games such as Ping-Pong or pool.

Although it’s not set up yet, the club also will open a lab with 16 computers. As many as 200 kids or more can be in the south Everett club at a time.

About 25 people have signed up for club membership, and director Brent Anderson expects that number to increase rapidly.

Anderson, 25, a graduate of Everett High School, said some of the kids used to visit the north Everett club. This location will be a lot easier for them to reach.

The Boys and Girls Clubs saw a need to locate a facility in south Everett, said Bill Tsoukalas, executive director of the Snohomish County clubs.

"Kids in this environment are doing healthy things," Tsoukalas said. "And they’re doing better in school."

Tsoukalas said work ahead includes developing ideas to make transportation more available, as well as opening new clubs at other locations.

"We see about 25 percent of our members at clubs every day," he said. "I think we’d be at about 50 percent if transportation was there."

The $244,000 to renovate the old metal-clad bus barn for the south Everett club came from a city grant. The Mukilteo School District owns the 6,000-square-foot building, which will serve Everett-area school kids south of Highway 526.

"Boys and Girls Clubs are a positive place for kids," Tsoukalas said. "There are activities, role model, a safe environment and kids are having fun too."

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