{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

MLB contributes to makeover of B&GCA

MLB contributes to B&GCA makeover

|
DETROIT -- With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Comerica Park on Tuesday evening, and all the festivities leading up to it, local residents had many reasons to celebrate this week. And just a few miles north of the Detroit Tigers' stadium, local kids were happy to add another highlight to the festivities.

The Lloyd H. Diehl Club of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan received a top-to-bottom makeover this week, and celebrated the completion of the refurbishment efforts in grand fashion on Tuesday morning, just in time for the Midsummer Classic.

Diehl Club director Patrice Dickens has been involved with B&GCA for 17 years. She was excited about the renovation project because it brought the club's sense of pride back.

"We needed to restore this club to a positive place," said Dickens. "Kids need to feel good from the moment that they hit the sidewalk outside the door. ... This is their home away from home.

"I think it's great because it's positive, and it just gives them that input that somebody cared enough about [them] to make this happen. More important, [the kids can say] 'I got to hold a paintbrush' or 'I got to push a broom,' and 'I got to bring my club back to something I could be proud of.'"

Kids from the club were joined by B&GCA officials -- including B&GCA of Southeastern Michigan president and CEO Leonard Krichko -- MLB team mascots and a host of Detroit companies. They were also joined by several representatives from MLB, including Tom Brasuell, VP of community affairs; Celia Bobrowsky, the Tigers' director of community relations; and Magical Builders, an initiative of the Frank Foundation of Phoenix, Ariz. All of them were happy to participate in a most memorable day for the club.

The children and mascots danced and played as a DJ spun festive tunes outside the clubhouse. Everyone at the ceremony was excited to see the whirlwind transformation of the club -- newly-painted walls, new ceiling tiles, a new air conditioning and heating system, upgraded restrooms, landscaping and field improvements -- which all took place in just one week. Everything, including supplies and labor, was donated by local companies and dozens of volunteers.

As a special treat, the club also was given a wagon full of board games, a new television, about $2,000 of baseball equipment from MLB and even a pet parakeet.

Many of the B&GCA members were present at the celebration ceremony. Courtney Brown, 15, said she has been coming to the Diehl Club since she was about 6 years old.

"The club offers so many different opportunities for me," said Brown. "It's one of the most powerful and positive places in our neighborhood, so I just love the club."

Brown is a B&GCA Youth of the Year winner, and was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the All-Star Game.

She was thankful for all the work the companies and volunteers had done to improve her club.

"It means a lot, because this is like a one-in-a-million chance for us," Brown said. "It's just wonderful. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everybody so much."

Jon and Christy Frank head up the Magical Builders program, which works to bring community and business leaders together to improve the lives of children through refurbishment projects.

Magical Builders' first project was the Family Living Center at Phoenix Children's Hospital. The Franks worked with MLB to organize their second project during All-Star Week at the Diehl Club, and hope to make projects like this an annual All-Star event.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America is the official charity of MLB. Brasuell said that the league was happy to get involved in the Detroit project.

"It's fantastic, when you came out here two weeks ago and saw what this club looked like before, it is just like we built a new club from scratch, pretty much," said Brasuell.

"Kids like to come to a facility that's appealing to them, and this is certainly appealing. So we think they're going to attract more kids. ... These kids now, the ones that are coming and the new ones that will come, are going to benefit from this tremendous facility."

Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español