Mission & History
Mission & History
Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County provides young people, in Mercer County, ages 5-18, with social, enrichment and recreational activities. Our programs offered after school, on weekends, and over the summer, focus on improving youth outcomes in education, developing social emotional competency and leadership skills, as well as teaching youth to develop healthy lifestyles through physical activity and nutrition.
Each year, more than 2,600 young people from around Mercer County, attend our programs. We are proud to have Club members from over 20 area schools, including teen members from five area high schools. We provide teens with access to college and career preparation programs, paid internships, mentorship programs and assistance with developing post-high school pathways. Every summer more than 700 children and teens enjoy swimming, art, sports, dance, STEM and exciting field trips through our Summer Camps. Always, child safety is our number one priority in all we do.
We've been inspiring Great Futures for 85 years as of 2022, so we're celebrating and acknowledging our impact. With 85 Ways – Together we have. Tomorrow we will. Click here for more on upcoming events, 85 Ways brochure, and our campaign, 85 Ways - Together we have. Tomorrow we will.
In 1937 the Boys Club of Trenton was formed to provide programs and services for the children and young people of Trenton. A group of businessmen (F. E. Schluter, Sr., James Kerney, Jr., Joseph Roebling, C. E. Stokes, Jr., John L. Williamson, and J. S. Hill – later joined by C. B. Gilbert, Sr.) visualized the need for a building-centered recreational, educational, and leisure-time facility for young boys and they gathered to form the Boys Club of Trenton.
As part of a national organization, the Club grew quickly in number of program sites and number of children served. Today the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County serves more than 2,600 youth each year.
It’s been 85 years now since we opened our blue doors to children in the Trenton area. We’re celebrating all year long by acknowledging the 85 ways we’ve helped neighborhood kids thrive: fun, learning, service, leadership and more—after school, all summer, wherever and whenever we’re needed to support youth.
Click here for more on upcoming events, 85 Ways brochure, and our campaign, 85 Ways - Together we have. Tomorrow we will.
Here are some highlights of the growth of the Boys & Girls Club:
The Boys Club of Trenton was formed and began providing programs and services for the young people of Trenton.
The Reservoir Club was leased from the City of Trenton, providing a gym, a large athletic field, and a pool for these programs.
1943 Skelton School was leased from the City of Trenton and becam the Centre Street Boys Club. Skelton School was previously the first free public school in the State of New Jersey. Well over 1,000 boys enjoyed three game rooms, a woodshop, a library, the club room, the gym, and a yard. 1952 The old Roebling School was leased from the City of Trenton and becomes the 11th Ward Boys Club. This facility had two classrooms for gym, two game rooms, a woodshop, a library, a craft room and a yard. 1955 The Centre Street Club built a 25' x 50' pool, with funds provided by the Junior League of Trenton. 1960
The Board of Trustees and the Junior League raised $80,000 and bought the property just north of the Centre Street Clubhouse and erected a full-size gymnasium.
Under outgoing president Charles E. Stokes, Jr., and incoming president J. Stuart Hill, the Club started a $500,000 capital campaign to raise funds to build a new Clubhouse in northwest Trenton and rebuild the Centre Street Clubhouse.
1964 The 11th Ward Boys Club is closed. 1965
The Pennington Avenue Boys Club was dedicated. President Richard M. Nixon, board chairman of Boys Clubs of America, presided over the dedication.
1969 The former Skelton School was demolished, and a band new Centre Street Clubhouse building was erected. To do this an additional $75,000 was raised in a quiet campaign co-chaired by C. Shelley Acuff, J.S. Hill, and Herbert F. Moore. 1975 Two additional lots north of the Centre Street Clubhouse were purchased and 2000 additional square feet of program space was completed under the presidency of Bernie R. Butler. 1984
The Club sold the Pennington Avenue property to the YMCA.
Boys Club changed it's name to Boys & Girls Club.
Roxanne Spillett became the first woman to head the national Boys & Girls Club organization.
Members of the Rotary Club of Trenton join the Club's Board of Trustees. These Trustees supported the success of the Club and invested funds (from their own foundation) to make improvements to the Club facility.
Our Keystone Club received 3 of 6 program awards at the Northeast Regional Conference.
Janet Krawtschenko was named President of the Board of Trustees and became our first female Board President.
The Club incresed the number of youth served daily to 500, after purchasing our first 54 passenger bus and opening After School Programs at local school sites.
The Club was awarded a five-year 21st Century Grant to fund attendance of 200 middle schoolers in our After School Program. Daily attendance became close to 900 youth per day.
The Pool at Centre Street Clubhouse was rebuilt and the first More Than Hope Campaign is launched.
The new Clubhouse at 1040 Spruce Street in Lawrence is opened.
The Club celebrated 80 years of service to this community.
The Club opened our Community Garden and Learning Center on Centre Street and begins providing outdoor education.
We’re celebrating our 85th anniversary by acknowledging the 85 ways we’ve helped neighborhood kids thrive—after school, all summer, wherever and whenever we’re needed to support youth.
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