Blackhawk Community Credit Union volunteers transform teen lounge at Boys & Girls Club

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Shelly Birkelo
Thursday, August 29, 2013

JANESVILLE—Some staff and club members at the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville couldn't wait to get a sneak peek at the teen lounge undergoing a makeover by Blackhawk Community Credit Union staff and volunteers.

Others wanted to wait and not see the changes until the official reveal the first week of September.

But all agreed the lounge in the facility at 200 W. Court St. needed updating.

“It's been like this for as long as I can remember, but we're not in a position to spend any extra money,” said Brittney Mansur, club program director.

The lounge had been filled with a hodgepodge of mismatched, used and worn furniture, and the walls had holes.

“It wasn't a welcoming space for teens,” Mansur said.

Club members agreed.

“It was crowded, we didn't have much and were kind of stuck with all leftovers,” said Ashlyn Schyvinck, 11.

“It's not in the best shape,” said Austin Schaller, 11. “Some things are broken, the chairs are falling apart, the paint is not good on the walls, there are marks on the pool table and we only have a couple Xbox 360 games.”

All that is changing thanks to Sherri Stumpf, CEO and president of Blackhawk Community Credit Union.

She saw the lounge during filming of a commercial at the club to promote the credit union.

“It was a very sad room with a hodgepodge of very old, tired furniture and not a lot of activities for the kids to be involved in. It wasn't a room teens would seek out to meet their friends,” she said.

Stumpf asked if the credit union could refresh the room. The work is scheduled to be done by Sept. 1.

The generosity touched Mansur.

“It's overwhelming they want to do this much for our teens,” she said as tears pooled in her eyes.

The $10,000 makeover began after the kids were asked what they wanted in their lounge. The room was cleared, and a fresh coat of yellow, green and orange paint along with vinyl letters of inspirational words and the club logo were applied to the walls. The room was redesigned to be multifunctional with lounge and gaming areas plus café-style seating.

A big-screen TV with a sectional sofa will be brought in with the latest gaming stations. Ski ball will be added and pool tables refurbished. Chalkboard paint was applied to doors so members can write messages, and a bulletin board was hung for posting notices of activities.

Stumpf explained the importance of this project.

“We're out in the community because that's what we're suppose to be doing. It's not about us. It's about investing in the kids that are going to be the next generation in charge of this community.''

Stump knows kids at the club are excited that somebody took time to come in and send the message that they are important.

Mansur said she's happy for the club members, board and staff.

“This place is going to flourish now with the teen lounge,” she said. “This is just the beginning. Thanks to Blackhawk Community Credit Union for doing this.”

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