A new chapter began for Journey House when it unveiled the Center for Family Learning and Youth Athletics, located at 2110 W. Scott St. in the Clarke Square neighborhood.
The long-awaited center, which will house programming for both Journey House and Longfellow, began as the vision of former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist and Michele Bria, now CEO of Journey House, in the late 1990s.
The striking new building features amenities such as a dance studio, a state-of-the-art computer lab, a teen lounge, classrooms, a large cafeteria and a gymnasium. Journey House administrative offices are also consolidated in the facility.
The building alleviates a space crunch that has hampered Journey House and Longfellow for decades.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett praised the partnerships that have developed while turning the idea into reality.
“This center is what the city is all about,” Barrett said.
Bria thanked a large crowd of volunteers, donors and community partners assembled in the cream, red and blue gymnasium.
In particular, she singled out Wendell Smith, principal of Longfellow, for praise.
“Sometimes it was dark and chaotic, but he always saw the light,” Bria said of Smith.
Bria, who cited the center as proof that dreams do come true, concluded her speech with a Chinese proverb.
“The journey is the reward,” she said.
The center will hold a grand opening for the public on July 21.