The Bristol Boys & Girls Club is a big resource for the community, and in early December they kicked off their celebration for their five year anniversary.
“We worked so hard to make it happen, and now we look back, and it’s five years,” Bristol Boys & Girls Club President & CEO, Michael Suchopar. “I have such a great community, such a great staff, and great kids. That’s what we’re here for.”
The club began in 2014 on Laurel Street in Bristol. It was then moved to its current location at 255 West St., Bristol after the bricks of the building started coming loose, and pipes were bursting. St. Ann’s Church, 215 West St., Bristol was looking to sell the property, and Suchopar said the West End was an area of need.
Acquiring the funds for the new location came with help from various sponsors, such as Webster Bank, and ESPN—who gave $400,000 to buy the property for the building. When the club was given tax credits, they couldn’t use them since they’re a non-profit, so Webster Bank bought the credits.
“I think real high quality programs have kept us going; I think our commitment to excellence has kept us going. I think we have a resilient spirit that we’ll do whatever it takes to make this world better for kids, and we’ll never give up. We’re very determined, hardworking, committed people,” said Suchopar.
The club offers programs such as technology, robotics, and coding. Josias Reynoso, 18, is a member of the club, and he has helped teach a technology class at the club.
“I’ve been going for about four years,” said Reynoso. “I instantly found my place. I went for volunteering for the tech center to start helping teach STEM programs, and then I moved on and found family in the club.”
“I’m interested in tech stuff, why not teach other kids tech stuff?,” said Reynoso. “I fully expected to be super nervous, and I find that I’m able to have a platform, and my voice is heard, and the kids are interested in me as much as I’m interested in them.”
“We want to be here for another century; we’ll do whatever we can to make dreams come true for kids,” said Suchopar.
To learn more, visit the Bristol Boys & Girls Club at www.bbgc.org.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jamila Young, email her at JYoung@BristolObserver.com.