Heights Youth Club to close in wake of planned building sale

Heights Youth Club will close May 31.

A decision by the nonprofit Heights Youth Club to sell the former Heights United Presbyterian Church building at 2065 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights has prompted Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland to announce it will close the Club it has operated at that site since 2007, effective May 31.

BGCC President and CEO Ron Soeder said the two organizations worked well together to provide afterschool programming for kids in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. He said selling the building would leave BGCC without a site and without a community partner willing to cover Club operating costs – a requirement BGCC has for any suburb seeking a Club.

BGCC has no plans to open in a new location in Cleveland Heights, Soeder said. He said families with children currently attending the Club will not be charged fees for the month of May. Any monetary commitments made for summer programming will be refunded.

HYC was founded in 2004 by a group of people who sought a safe, enjoyable place for kids to go after school and during summers. The group eventually entered into an agreement to purchase the closed church, renovated the building and signed an operating agreement with Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

The Club opened its doors in January 2007.

Earlier this year, HYC and Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland transitioned the funding model for the Cleveland Heights Club. Under the new model, parents paid for afterschool programming on a sliding income scale. Kids receive supervision by a professional youth development staff, daily meals, transportation from some schools, homework help, arts and music opportunities and athletics.

The Club, located across from Heights High School, has been a hub of activity ever since it opened. In addition to activities and programming, the Club served approximately 20,000 free meals to members last year.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland provides fun, safe places for kids to go after school. BGCC has a professional youth development staff and focuses on academic achievement, healthy lifestyles and character development. BGCC serves about 1,000 kids per day at 14 sites.