ASTORIA – Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. joined Costa Constantinides, CEO of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ), at their Junior Home Run Derby on June 13 to announce a $5 million allocation. The multimillion-dollar allocation will support the construction of the new redevelopment project for the Club.
The redevelopment will include the first planetarium in Queens, 1,000-seat basketball arena, Olympic-size swimming pool, and black box theater. In addition, it will have art, music and dance studios, science labs, dozens of fully-equipped education rooms, and tech space for robotics and STEM. In 2019, over 200 children were on the waitlist due to limited space at the Club. The new facility will draw children and families from all over Queens, increasing the number of children served from 4,000 to an estimated 15,000.
“We are so grateful to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards for his support of our new redevelopment project. We are building a beacon for all our youth, where they can explore their interests and learn who they are,” said Constantinides, CEO of the VBGCQ. “With his generous allocation we can realize our plans to build a state-of-the-art club and more than triple the number of kids we serve.”
“Our families are excited about the new club and all the amazing new programs that we will have available to the community,” said Andy Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Queens. “With our new site, we plan on serving many more families than we serve today so we look forward to sharing our bigger and better space when the new facility is completed.”
“The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens does incredible work every day to uplift thousands of children, but as our families and the borough grow, so must the Club's ability to provide the critical programming our families rely on,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. “This $5 million allocation is about much more than the construction of a new physical space with state-of-the-art amenities. It's about investing in the health of our children and the future of our borough.”
For 66 years, Variety has been an anchor in Astoria and Long Island City, offering children a safe haven to grow into tomorrow's leaders. Since opening its doors, VBGCQ has upheld its founding mission: to enable young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Serving over 4,000 young people each year, VBGCQ is the largest youth development organization in Western Queens and nearly 60% of Club members come from the nearby Ravenswood, Queensbridge, and Astoria Houses.