April 8, 2010
Most of us are familiar with the Boys & Girls Club and how they offer positive outlets for kids in the community. What some may not recognize are the many volunteers who work to lift that organization up. In this week's Jennifer's Heroes, Jennifer Black introduces us to one hero, new to the area, who is already making a big impact.
Wes Bellamy, a recent college graduate, just moved to Charlottesville and started a job at the National Ground Intelligence Center. However, that's just part of his responsibility to the community.
"I thought since I was done with school and now that I'm starting my career, I really felt I had a responsibly to give back because these are the kids who, a lot of them grew up just like I did, and those are the ones being affected," said Bellamy.
"As soon as he got here, he reached out to us and he really just wants to make a difference in the community," added Kristen Baker, of the Boys & Girls Club.
Partnering with the Boys & Girls Club proved to be fruitful for Bellamy, and his wish to help area teens will come true upon the completion of a multi-million dollar building along Cherry Street in Charlottesville, which will serve as a place for teens to turn after school.
"They're going to have their own place. The little kids aren't even going to be allowed to enter," said Baker.
While the building will serve kids ages 8-18, Baker says there will be a special place for the teens. It will include a study lounge, computers and flat screen TVs. Baker added that the new building will be the first center in the area to offer a gymnasium.
Bellamy has been busy organizing several events to spread the word about the new Cherry Avenue building. The first of which is the Spring Fling in Westhaven this Saturday, April 10 from 3-8pm at Westhaven off Hardy Drive. The event includes everything from free food to free haircuts.
Confident the new location will have a lasting impression on area teens, Bellamy says there's plenty that still needs to be done.
"Once we start seeing more results then maybe we can start patting ourselves on the back, but as of right now we still have a lot of work to do," said Bellamy.
While Saturday's Spring Fling is a kick-off celebration for the new building, Bellamy says it's also a way to bridge gaps in the community.