Squadron presents Girls Club with big check for big project


By Albert Amateau

A gaggle of Lower Eastside Girls Club members came to the club’s headquarters on Wednesday last week to receive an oversized check for $250,000 from state Senator Daniel Squadron, who helped secure the New York State grant for the club’s new center under construction on Avenue D.

The girls were also celebrating the 11th birthday of their sister club member Imani Quardier, who shared a giant cupcake with her friends and neighborhood visitors to the club’s office on First St. near First Ave.

Lyn Pentecost, Girls Club executive director, and Mary Spink, chairperson of the club’s board of directors, welcomed Squadron as a partner in the club’s future development.

“We’re proud to have Senator Squadron in Albany working for the Lower East Side,” Pentecost said.

Squadron, who led the cheering for Imani’s birthday, assured a visitor that the grant would not be held up by the perpetually late state budget.

“It’s a capital fund grant and isn’t involved in the budget,” he said. “It will help the club build a new place where girls in the neighborhood can meet, learn and grow.’

The new clubhouse, to be built between E. Seventh and E. Eighth Sts. on Avenue D, is expected to open in 2012 at a total cost of $20 million, fully furnished. Founded in 1996, the club serves hundreds of local East Village and Lower East Side girls, most of them from low-income families.

Currently, the club activities take place in a few neighborhood venues, including 56 E. First St., the club headquarters and center for older girls; and 136 Avenue C at E. Eighth St., the location of the club’s Sweet Things Bake Shop, where Imani’s birthday cake was baked.

When the state-of-the-art green community center on Avenue D is completed it will accommodate all of the club’s education, arts, entrepreneurial and job-training activities.