Sept. 13, 2011 By Christian Murray
The president of the Sunnyside Woodside Boys & Girls club announced bold plans to develop a $15 million facility within 3 ½ years.
Vincent Renda, the president of the club, told a large audience at a fundraiser at St Raphael’s gym Saturday night that the organization is planning to develop a site on 42nd street and 48th Ave. that is currently up for sale.
The site would cost $6m to purchase, with an additional $9m required to develop the structure. The building would include a swimming pool, a basketball court and a learning center.
Renda, who hopes to be able to raise $6m in a year, did not disclose how much the club has in the bank right now. However, he said: “When I see what is possible…a kid epicenter…a destination point…I know where we are going.”
The Boys & Girls club began 18 months ago when Mark Wilensky, the founder, joined forces with Vincent Renda to put plans in place to help local children.
The club soon began holding Friday night programs for 11-14 year-olds at St. Teresa’s gym on Friday nights. According to Renda, about 125 children registered, with about 75 children attending most Friday nights. Activities include basketball, volleyball, soccer, arts and crafts.
The program cost parents just $10 for the entire five month–or $2 per week.
The group plans to expand the program to three nights a week. The group is establishing an arts and theater evening; a technology night; and a separate sports session.
The group’s biggest fundraiser took place last November, where the group raised about $10,000. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who spoke Saturday, allocated $5,000 to the Boys & Girls club in 2010 and said he would allocate the same sum to the group this year. Congressman Joseph Crowley and state Sen. Mike Gianaris were in attendance to offer their support.
The fundraiser on Saturday honored four community leaders who coached children in Sunnyside/Woodside for many years. The four men were Carl Caridi, Joe Laietta, Jerry Ingenito and the late Tom Conroy. The men received citations from the New York City Council and the New York State senate– with the late Tom Conroy’s given to his son.