Despite setbacks to many projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation persevered and made significant strides in building its new teen center, Club 904. The nonprofit unveiled the new center with a ribbon cutting and tour, Sept. 9, as Mayor Lenny Curry joined Founder MaliVai Washington and several Jacksonville City Council members, in addition to a handful of high school students who currently attend the program.
Just shy of three years ago, the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation announced its vision for the center. Since that time, over $5.5 million was raised by the community as the MWYF partnered with the City of Jacksonville to construct the 14,000-square-foot facility. Club 904 features a high school lounge and study hall, teaching kitchen, game, theatre, and music rooms and general classrooms. The center will offer services including academic assistance, college preparation, job and leadership training, a variety of life skills and elective courses and social activities.
At the ribbon cutting, Curry delivered remarks alongside other leaders and praised the efforts of the Foundation as well as those of students and leaders of tomorrow.
“I want every child in every zip code to have the tools and resources they need to be successful. This Foundation played a critical role – a VERY critical role in that mission,” said Curry. “The work you’re doing is important, it’s important to the children, to the families, the neighborhood and the entire city of Jacksonville.”
The Foundation will be able to triple the number of students served by utilizing this new space. The club will also provide a safe, supportive space for teens to spend their afterschool hours and summer break, as they grow into future leaders and successful members of the community. By working to educate, enlighten and create a safe haven, the goal is to break the cycle of poverty in communities where these children and teens are growing up.
The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation is an after-school and summer youth development program in Jacksonville’s Urban Core that promotes academic achievement and positive life skills. To discover more information about MWYF, please visit https://www.malwashington.com.