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Volunteers remodel Boys and Girls Club in downtown Sacramento

There was paint galore Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club in downtown Sacramento.

A crew of 80 white-shirted volunteers descended on the club’s Raley Branch at 1117 G St., painting the walls navy blue and jamming to loud radio music in the background. At one point, Dinger, the Sacramento River Cats mascot, made a special appearance, dancing around and offering high-fives.

The remodeling project was sponsored by Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Leadership Sacramento Class of 2013, in collaboration with the River Cats and Sutter Health.

“We wanted to do something that would impact teens. It’s a segment of our society that needs additional resources,” said Clay Merrill, who is part of the leadership class.

The Boys and Girls Club was changing the facility into a full-fledged teen center, so taking on this project was a natural fit, Merrill said.

More than $100,000 was raised for the remodeling, along with $30,000 worth of donations. The center isn’t only getting a fresh layer of paint. Volunteers are upgrading the technology room with better computers and creating a new dance room. They will also bring in cardiovascular equipment for an exercise room.

Built in 1999, the Raley Branch serves 80 regular members and is open five days a week. The nonprofit Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento helps 1,200 young people, ages 6 to 18, at its two branches and six school sites throughout the region.

“Teens need to go somewhere safe so they won’t get into trouble,” said Erin Chandler, spokeswoman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento.

Neisha McCall, 16, attends Discovery High School in Natomas and is a regular visitor to the Raley Branch. She hopes the remodeling will draw more teens.

“The club has shaped who I am today,” she said. “I didn’t have the best attitude before.”

The project is expected to be completed by year’s end. The Raley Branch will remain open during the renovation.

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