Reading, PA- Josh Ruiz said that he isn’t sure where he might have been if he hadn’t gotten involved in the Olivet Boys & Girls Club.
“I don’t know, I might be on the streets right now,” the 17-year-old Reading High School junior said.
But he did join and on Tuesday afternoon he was helping John Gallen and about 25 employees of Ethosource, Gallen’s Reading-based furniture company, carry more than 150 pieces of furniture into the Pendora facility at 330 S. 19th St.
The new clubhouse borders Pendora Park in southeast Reading.
Gallen said he attended an Olivet capital campaign meeting three years ago and heard about the ambitious plan to raise $3 million to build the Pendora facility.
When nonprofits ask him for help, Gallen said he answers with furniture.
Gallen said that he got together with building designers and engineers and went over things like color schemes and room sizes and functions and then drew up a plan for the types of furniture needed to equip the rooms.
On Tuesday, Ethosource employees and others were moving in about $35,000 worth of chairs, tables, desks, workstations and other necessities to outfit the new center.
Retiree Brad White Sr. of Reading said that he’s been volunteering with Olivet for 33 years, but this was the first time he got to manage the opening of a brand-new building.
The club is built on city-owned parkland and is adjacent to a playground. A grand-opening event is expected in the fall.
Candy Ninfo said she is currently unit director at the club on Mulberry Street but will be taking over the Pendora site going forward.
She said Pendora will be capable of providing whatever youths need to succeed, including guidance, education assistance, recreation.
“Really, it’s everything a child and their parents might need,” Ninfo said.
Pendora will even offer a recording studio.
The Reading Musical Foundation is designing a studio to be part of the building so that students can make and record their own music.
Since 1998, Olivet had been providing programs in east Reading out of its building at the intersection of 13th Street and Perkiomen Avenue.
But that building, the former Temple Oheb Sholom synagogue, is outdated and has a capacity of about 200 youngsters.