Story by Marianne Salza
Revere Parks & Recreation opened the George V. Colella Community Center on September 10 at the Garfield School, 186 Garfield Avenue, currently serving nearly 1,000 youth and adults in over 40 programs. The community center offers classes, clubs, and athletics for all ages, and hopes to welcome thousands more in the near future.
“We make an effort to offer programs for everyone in the city,” said Parks & Recreation Assistant Director, Charlie Giuffrida, who runs the Community Center. “Up until the Community Center, we were doing well with sports and after school physical activities. This gave us a chance to branch out into all forms of leisure activities.”
The Community Center has allowed Parks & Recreation to expand programming to offer swim lessons, an open gym, therapeutic sessions, music classes – and one of Giuffrida’s favorites – an Afterschool Chess Club, which provides 25-45 young, beginner and intermediate chess players with opportunities to learn the game and practice their strategical skills with Garfield School teachers, Chris Miller and Brian MacDonald.
Children, grades 3-6, can storm a castle with their friends and defeat a dragon in the popular Dungeons & Dragons Club, led by Hill School music teacher, Chris DiBenedetto; learn the Japanese art of paper folding in an Origami class, instructed by Alina Zalucki; or learn the fundamentals of Ukulele playing with the Lincoln School’s music teacher, Lance MacDonald.
The Community Center is proud to offer English language classes for adult learners; as well as a program for first generation Moroccan children to stay connected with their culture and learn Arabic.
“We have a tremendous relationship being formed with Frank Shea and the high school athletic program,” continued Giuffrida. “Right now, we have four clinics scheduled, and we hope to have more.”
Students and coaches from Revere High School’s softball, golf, lacrosse, and basketball teams will be providing sports clinics for children, Pre-K-8th grade.
“This is a center for the community,” Giuffrida stressed. “If there are organizations looking for a meeting or instructional space – this is what it’s for. We’re always looking for programs.”
Revere Parks & Recreation is in the process of finalizing January-June programing, and expects to release a flyer around winter school vacation with additional Friday night and Saturday programs.
“This is something we’ve never had in Revere: a gathering place, a place to teach. That’s why it’s important,” said Mike Hinojosa, Director of Revere Parks & Recreation, who is excited for the virtually unlimited, larger space. “Parks & Recreation is becoming more about leisure activities, and we’re able to provide them here.”
Visit www.RevereRec.org or call (781) 286-8190 to register for programs or suggest ideas. Revere Parks & Recreation is open to all; however, Revere residents receive the first priority for all programing, and are eligible for fee assistance.
“I think the best is yet to come,” Giuffrida said. “Over the next six months we project having over 75 programs in the building. The sky is the limit for Revere Parks & Recreation and we’re looking forward to the future.”