By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
After years of waiting the Buena Clinton Youth and Family Center in Garden Grove received a $2 million makeover, thanks to a state grant awarded to the center in 2004 by Murray-Hayden Urban Parks and Youth Service.
Once a double-wide trailer, the new facility is two stories, 6,600 square-feet and complete with multi-purpose rooms, a teen center, counseling and case management area and an outdoor multi-sports court in an often-troubled area.
“This is a project that we have been telling people about for the last five years. This is a large dream for this community and it is finally coming to reality,” staff director Gabi O’Cadiz-Hernandez said.
For over 10 years, the Buena Clinton center has provided youth and family services and support to a community of 3,500 people with a history of crime, overcrowding and drug markets, according to their web site.
The new building is located at 12661 Sunswept Ave. and its grand opening was held Tuesday.
Garden Grove City Councilman Bruce Broadwater said, “This neighborhood has come so far in seven years.”
“You know, a young girl can come here, or come here with her family if she has a kid and learn about how to take care of herself and her child,” said state Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said, “Look at this place, this is America right here. This is the land of opportunity.”
Offering after school homework help, a teen volunteer program, parenting classes, family counseling, safety classes and other youth enrichment programs, this center has reached out to a community in need of help and has outgrown the small facility they previously occupied, said O’ Cadiz-Hernandez.
The added space will allow staff to expand the counseling services which is huge, O’ Cadiz-Hernandez said. It will also allow for about 200 participants daily, double the previous amount and an expansion of youth enrichment programs.
“The same services we offered before, were very limited by a 20 by 40 foot trailer, but now we can we can run all these programs simultaneously and we can offer them more often, O’Cadiz-Hernandez said.
In order to participate in the Buena Clinton Center, candidates have to be a resident of Buena Clinton, fill out an application and are chosen based on a lottery system, O’ Cadiz-Hernandez said.
“It is not just a youth center, families can come here and use our services also,” she said. “The primary focus is on youth in terms of after school programs and recreation activities, but there is a strong family support piece we offer here.”
Brittany Hanson contributed to this report.