BY MARIE NALAN
This spring, construction will begin on the Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Club, an expanded location for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa in Des Moines, on Drake’s campus.
Located across from Shivers Basketball Practice Facility, the club will provide resources and activities for local K-12 youth. The club will serve Drake’s neighborhood as part of the school’s mission, and Drake students will be able to volunteer, study from, and collaborate with the Boys and Girls Clubs.
“I can’t think of a more powerful collaboration that we could create for the benefit of our neighborhood than this,” said Drake University President Marty Martin.
The project began when Suzie Glazer Burt, Des Moines philanthropist and member of the Drake University Board of Trustees, approached President Martin about a collaboration between the University and the Boys and Girls Club. According to Martin, Glazer Burt’s family started the Boys Club of Central Iowa, which later became the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa decades ago. She thought a new location for the club, in connection with Drake University, would be valuable to the community.
“We were honored to have had Suzie and her husband Gregory make the lead gift to our campaign and can’t wait to open the Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Club in their honor,” said Abbey Barrow, director of marketing and communication for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa.
The Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Club will be built on Drake University land, leased to the Boys and Girls Club for $1 a year. Marin and Barrow think the project is a great one for both parties, and for area youth.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa is a safe and helpful place for children, with positive adult role models and community resources. According to Martin, the club is needed in Drake’s neighborhood.
“It will give children a permanent home as they move through school,” said Martin. “The clubs will help them work hard, achieve their best, and go to college. Boys and Girls Clubs will have a lot of resources for the families as well, lots to do with food security. Boys and Girls Club is an outstanding organization.”
Not only do project leaders think the clubs help the community, but Drake students as well. Students will be able to volunteer on site, do projects, and collaborate with youth and staff. Students can possibly coach youth sports teams, or be a tutor. Martin also hopes that the School of Education can do work with the club moving forward.
“I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that on the first day the club is open, there will be a line of students outside the door,” said Martin, smiling. “There will be no end to the opportunities for students to volunteer.”
Organizers are excited about this project that they say will do great things for everyone in Drake’s neighborhood.
Finally, construction plans are currently being made and are almost finalized. Construction will begin this spring. The Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Club plans to open in 2019.