Lindsay Crist, For The Miami Student

The Booker T. Washington Community Center (BTWCC) in Hamilton will soon offer new opportunities for Miami University students looking to get involved in community outreach.

The Booker T. Washington Community Center closed April 15 for facility renovations and plans to reopen in June under a new partnership, according to the Great Miami Valley YMCA. This new partnership with the Great Miami Valley YMCA and the City of Hamilton will create new programs in collaboration with Miami, the Boys & Girls Club of Hamilton and other non-profit organizations, according to the YMCA.

The BTWCC is devoted to the public. The building is located on 13 acres of parkland and includes a basketball court, a playground, shelter houses and more, according to the City of Hamilton. Within BTWCC is an indoor pool, computer lab, meeting rooms and a gymnasium. The City of Hamilton said BTWCC is accessible to the community daily and can also be rented for special occasions. Current renovations are designed to update the building and all of its accouterments.

Along with the new renovations, emphasis is placed on programs that work with other local organizations, according to Karen Miller, the Executive Director for Boys & Girls Club of Hamilton.

“We are partnering with Miami University students during the school year for programs like homework help and reading assistance for youth,” Miller said.

Kim Munafo, vice president of development for the Great Miami Valley YMCA, said the end goal of working with Miami and other outside groups is to offer at least 20 new programs to children in the community.

“We are hoping it serves more children in the community and meets their needs that they shared specifically with us,” Munafo said.

The Boys & Girls Club will work with Miami students at the new BTWCC to provide educational activities for local children.

“We would like more youth living in poverty to be successful in school,” Miller said.

Miami’s Office of Community Engagement and Service sets up tutoring partnerships with various local schools and arranges transportation so Miami students can tutor children at the BTWCC, according to senior Jordyn Grzelewski, a student employee at the office.

“A lot of our tutoring is more easy-going,” Grzelewski said. “It is an after-school program and you just work with kids one-on-one with whatever homework they have.”

First-year Erin Wahler said she believes many Miami students will take advantage of this opportunity to work with children in the community.

“I think it is a really good idea, and programs like this always need more volunteers,” Wahler said. “Advocating for opportunities such as this one is something that I would really like to start up next year.”

Programs at the BTWCC is projected to begin in June when the center reopens, according to the Great Miami Valley YMCA. Some of the many programs that will be offered include swim lessons, homework assistance and art lessons, according to the YMCA.

“We are very pleased that all the collaborators have been so willing to work together and lend their expertise,” Munafo said.

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