The Rockwood Boys & Girls Club hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new CJ McCollum Dream Center unveiling on Monday, September 17. Boys & Girls Clubs CEO, Erin Hubert, and East County Area Director, Imani Muhammad, spoke before handing over the mic to one of our Rockwood teen members, who thanked CJ for building the Dream Center, saying, “I really hope that this Dream Center will bring everyone together.”
CJ McCollum then told gathered members and guests about his vision for the Dream Centers, “This is just an awesome opportunity for me to be here, to be able to provide something like the Dream Center, where kids are able to learn, grow and explore different things they may not normally be exposed to. I think, coming from Canton, Ohio, I never envisioned being able to do things like this, but it always makes me feel good on the inside when I’m able to provide certain things for kids that I would’ve dreamed of having.”
McCollum’s interests have not only been on the court but also in the world of journalism. “Being a journalism major, coming from Lehigh University, I thought it was only right to provide different types of media equipment for the kids…. Providing a room like this allows kids to step outside their comfort zones, and be more comfortable talking in front of big groups, be more comfortable maybe podcasting, maybe producing behind the scenes. In the journalism world today, there’s just so many jobs that are available to kids.”
After cutting the ribbon to applause, CJ went into the studio and livestreamed his podcast, Pull Up, with his costar Jordan Schultz. Members got to watch as McCollum, Schultz, and special guest Damien Lillard talked sports, family and more, getting a super exciting inside look at what podcasting looks like real time.
The Dream Center aims to empower young people to achieve their dreams with access to technology, literacy, innovation, arts and academic spaces in order to further grow, learn, create and develop. The new space boasts cutting edge camera equipment to enable youth to tell their own stories, a custom Dream Center news desk, custom studio lighting, Microsoft Studio computers created specifically for creating projects with the latest Adobe Creative Suite and livestreaming software, flat screen TVs, and an entire green screen wall. It has the capacity to serve 2,500 youth throughout the East Multnomah County each program year.
We’re very excited and grateful to continue and deepen this partnership with our beloved Blazer, CJ McCollum who has been an amazing role model for youth in our community. He consistently provides opportunities, space, mentorship, and experiences that broaden the horizons of our members: allowing youth to participate in sports clinics, giving kids a chance to sit in his section at games, and these two beautiful Dream Centers now housed at the Rockwood and Blazers Clubs.
Looking forward, McCollum plans to invest in the future of our youth by building Dream Centers in each of the Portland Metro Clubs, helping members and our Club communities continue to develop, grow, and thrive.