Boys & Girls Club appoints longtime staffer to lead new teen center

Renderings of the new Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence teen center

The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence earlier this week announced the appointment of longtime staffer Monica Dittmer as executive director of the organization’s new teen center.

Dittmer, who began her career with the Boys & Girls Club in 2002, currently serves as director of operations. Starting Sept. 15, she will shift into her new role developing programming for the soon-to-be-built Don & Beverly Gardner Center for Great Futures.

Construction began earlier this month on the facility, which will connect with the nearby Lawrence College and Career Center at 2910 Haskell Ave.

Monica Dittmer

“Monica has been hugely instrumental in the growth of this organization,” executive director Colby Wilson said in a news release. “It’s because of that I chose her for this new role. Opening the Center for Great Futures will challenge all of us in the best way as we prepare to serve five times as many teens in our new facility.”

Dittmer’s first tasks as executive director of the teen center will include the creation of a teen advisory board, as well as strengthening existing relationships with administration from Lawrence’s secondary schools, the news release said.

The Boys & Girls Club’s current director of teen services, Amy Hill, will remain in her role amid the changes, Wilson said in his statement.

“Add Monica’s talents to Amy’s success managing day-to-day program delivery, building relationships with our teens, and coaching our teen staff members, and I feel great knowing we have the right people leading our expansion of teen programs,” Wilson said.

As director of operations, Dittmer “paved the way” in opening Boys & Girls Club sites at all 14 elementary schools in the Lawrence district, the news release said. Since then, Boys & Girls Club average daily attendance has reached 1,500 kids per day.

“It’s been rewarding — and a whirlwind — to watch our elementary enrollment grow and grow every year,” Dittmer said in the news release. “But I really want to keep those kids in the Club beyond fifth grade. We have a model in place and an ideal partnership with Lawrence Public Schools. I am so excited to work with Amy and our team to see what we can do.”

In her new role, Dittmer also plans to work with local and regional businesses in programs such as STEM education, financial literacy and soft skill training, first working with Hill to survey teens and build programming around students’ interests.

The Boys & Girls Club’s new teen center is slated to open in August 2018.