By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 10, 2017 at 1:02 PM

In March, community leaders gathered to celebrate the re-opening of the renovated Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club, 3000 N. Sherman Blvd.

This week, folks got together to officially launch the club's newly expanded teen center, that the Boys & Girls Clubs hopes will better serve neighborhood youth with a variety of activities and amenities in a safe, comfortable and productive space.

"The new teen center in the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club is an example of the community investing in our youth," said Vincent Lyles, president & CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. "With a bigger space chock full of amenities, more teens are choosing to spend their time in this safe and inspiring space surrounded by positive role models."

This in the same week that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee got some national attention on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" show. More on that later.

First, the 3,130-square foot teen center adds 1,600 more feet and actually began welcoming about 50 13-18-year-olds each day in June. The project was designed by Milwaukee's HGA Architects.

The expanded space was entirely repainted and recarpeted and also got new lighting and new ceiling tiles.

Among the amenities in the larger teen center are, in the words of the Boys & Girls Club:

  • New computer lab, complete with about a half-dozen brand new computers, work stations, desks and whiteboards.
  • Theater performance area with large screen, stage, projector and curtains for watching movies.
  • Games area, including new video games, "pop a shot" game, ping pong table, new pool table and foosball table.
  • A quiet study spot, including new furniture, sectioned off with doors.
  • Lockers where teens can charge their electronic devices and phones.
  • TV area with comfortable furniture to socialize with their peers.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" segment

Oh, and did we mention that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee had a music video segment with Guillermo on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" last night?

The video – an ad for Old Navy – was created by Milwaukee dance instructor Cedric Gardner, who was tasked with writing a song inspired by the kids he works with. Here's the song they wrote, performed and for which they made a video featuring two kids from the clubs and Kimmel sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.