LAKE STEVENS — The Hollywood leading man who helped raise money for the new teen center here did so in memory of one of the leading men in his life.
The teen center at the Lake Stevens Boys &Girls Club, which is expected to open this spring, is being named in memory of Dan Pratt. His youngest son, Chris Pratt, is an actor who has starred in movies such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World.” His newest movie, “Passengers,” is out this week.
Earlier this year, Chris Pratt participated in a fundraiser for the teen center. Raffle tickets, sold for $10 apiece, bought people a chance to win a trip to the “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” set.
At a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, Pratt presented a check for $500,000 from the fundraiser. That’s part of a $885,000 total, which includes $120,000 in state support and money gathered locally before and after the Pratt fundraiser. It’s enough to build a teen center nearly double the size the club originally had planned.
Chris Pratt is working with the Boys &Girls Club to help local kids and honor his dad, “a pillar of the community,” he said in an email Tuesday. Dan Pratt was tough, stubborn and funny. He was a natural leader and full of love. He taught his youngest son about humor, the value of hard work and how to fish.
Originally from northern Minnesota, Dan Pratt worked mostly as a remodeling contractor. He liked to coach his kids in sports and he “lived to work,” Chris Pratt said. The family moved to Lake Stevens in 1987, when Chris, the youngest of three siblings, was in elementary school.
Chris Pratt graduated in 1997 from Lake Stevens High School, where he is remembered as the funny kid who made students and teachers laugh with clever skits and impersonations. Last year, he shared a childhood photo of himself and his brother posed with their dad during a fishing trip. The message that accompanied the photo on Twitter read: “Your to do list: 1) have kids 2) play outside 3) teach them to fish 4) take pictures. Thanks Dad. Miss you man.”
Dan Pratt died in 2014. He’d suffered from multiple sclerosis.
Chris Pratt comes back to Lake Stevens periodically, he said. It’s gotten a lot bigger than the Lake Stevens he remembers from childhood, and in many ways it seems to be more dangerous for kids, he said.
“There’s heroin in our school. I can’t believe it,” he said. “Which is a huge reason why I wanted to create a safe space where teens can spend time when their parents are working. Keep them away from temptation and trouble.”
The new center is designed to be 2,800 square feet. While connected to the main building at 1609 E Lakeshore Drive, it will be self-contained so teens have their own space, said Bill Tsoukalas, executive director of Boys &Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. There are plans for a snack bar, computer stations and a studio where teens can watch or create their own movies. There also might be a small recording studio so they can make music.
Chris Pratt said he hopes the center provides a welcoming place for kids to explore their creativity. As a teen in Lake Stevens, he spent his time fishing, shooting his BB gun, playing outside, playing sports, rollerblading and working.
In the email, Pratt shared his advice for young people in Lake Stevens: “Embrace boredom. That is how you learn to be creative. Be yourself. Distance yourself from those who would attempt to bring you down.”
In 2014, Pratt told The Daily Herald that his childhood in Lake Stevens shaped who he is now.
“I cling really tightly to my roots,” he said, noting that he feels lucky to have grown up in Snohomish County. His wife, actress Anna Faris, shares his love of the area. She’s from Edmonds.
A friend and former coach, Michael Hodgins, reached out to Chris Pratt with a request to help with the teen center.
“It appealed to me immediately,” Pratt said.
The movie star is a genuine, sincere and humble person who has never forgotten where he grew up, Tsoukalas said Tuesday after the groundbreaking.
Construction on the teen center is set to start in January. The goal is to open it before summer break.
The Lake Stevens Boys &Girls Club still is raising money for upgrades to the rest of the building, including a new roof, paint, furniture and other cosmetic updates. The goal is $1.2 million total.
The club opened in 2004. There were about 700 kids signed up as members that year, Tsoukalas said. Now, there are more than 2,200.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.