Patriot Ledger: "Braintree youth center celebrates 10th year, launches fund drive."

BRAINTREE – As it marks its 10th anniversary, the Braintree Community Youth Center is launching a fundraising drive to continue and possibly expand its programs.

Located in the former Noah Torrey School at 74 Pond St., the center is open Friday and Saturday nights. It has about 200 members.

"We're a safe, supervised environment for middle and high school students," said Virginia Polio, the executive director of the center.

The center offers a variety of games, including board games and video games as well and ping-pong and pool tables. There's also arts and crafts and home theater areas.

"It's a nice hang-out space," she said. "It's a nice alternative to the South Shore Plaza."

The center is staffed by members of the Braintree Rotary Club, workers from the Braintree Co-Operative Bank and other volunteers.

Started as a project by the Rotary Club, the center has always been self-supporting, relying on small grants and donations to cover its expenses. Polio said the center's expenses run about $25,000 per year.

"This is to keep us on an even keel," Polio said.

She said that members of the center would like to see the operating hours increase to include Sunday afternoons and weeknights during school vacations.

A mailer has been included with water and sewer bills seeking donations.

The center is planning a series of 10 fundraisers over the next year. The first is a Cinco de Mayo Anniversary Gala from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. May 5 at the Great Pond Hall, 120 Bay State Drive.

The event features a Mexican and American buffet, cash bar, live and silent auction and a performance by "Solera" flamenco dance company.

Tickets are $35 per person, and are available at the youth center during operating hours or online at

Other upcoming events are a car wash, road race and a fashion show.

For more information on the center, call 617-842-7174.

-Fred Hanson, Patriot Ledger