Ben Williams unveiled the newest addition to the Connect Center for Youth in Cohoes.
"We’re set up for a socially distant classroom project," said Williams.
The STEAM lab aims to provide students in the community access to computers and Internet for free, which Ben says can be especially helpful during the pandemic.
"I've been getting emails from kids ready to go and parents ready to get their kids out of the house," said Williams.
Although they just cut the ribbon for the new space this week, the project got its divine start years ago.
Ben’s family established The Good Ground Family Church after they took over the St. Agnes Cathedral in 2001. His father, Rev. Wendell Williams, set out to make a safe space for youth inside the church back in 2012.
"He passed away, unfortunately, in 2016, and I just couldn’t let this [youth center] go," said Williams.
Since then, Williams has been working room by room to fulfill his father's legacy.
There’s also an unveiled equipped music studio where students can learn and create audio projects from scratch.
"You can see from COVID that everything went virtually, from the classroom to the workplace. So to properly equip the kids for the job market going forward, we have to be tech-minded," said Williams.
It took about $25,000 to complete the addition, but Ben doesn’t want to stop there. He is looking to raise another $100,000 to complete the upper portion of the youth center, which will include another technology room. He is also cooking up a plan to open a collaborative kitchen space for aspiring chefs and youth meal programs.
"It’s amazing how many people this building is going to help, and I’m just blessed to be a part of it," said Williams.
To learn more about the programs or to donate, visit ConnectCenterforYouth.org.