Shooting guard CJ McCollum joined the Portland Trailblazers
in 2013 after playing basketball and studying journalism at Lehigh University. In
addition to basketball, education has always been a passion of his, and since becoming
a Blazer he has made a commitment to give back to the community that has helped
shape his career. One of his first plays is teaming up with the Boys and Girls
Club, a long-time community partner of the Blazers. He envisioned a Dream
Center to inspire kids to set big goals for their futures.
Ankrom Moisan’s client Moda Health approached interior
designers Bethanne Mikkelson and Kim Gonzales to ask if they would help bring the
first Dream Center to life. The pair donated time and interior design services
to provide a space plan, a design concept, and interior finish selections. The
design concepts addressed how a diverse age range of youth—ages six to 16—can explore,
grow, and share his or her big ideas; how the child can envision their future;
and how to “create yourself.”
CJ recognizes the fact that the Boys and Girls Clubs serve a lot of kids who have adverse childhood experiences and he wants to do what he can to give some of them the chance for a brighter future. The inaugural Dream Center is set within a Boys and Girls Club located in NE Portland. The original room was an underutilized and outdated multipurpose room with flickering fluorescent lighting and fixtures that had not been refreshed since the mid-1990s. The refreshed space is a clean and modern retreat that promises to strengthen resiliency through reading, writing, and socializing.
Divided into zones, the interior spaces support different
learning styles through simple, streamlined design strategies. The technology
hub features PCs on high tables and offers resources to learn computer coding.
A reading area is deliberately cozy with carpeting and low seating. A curated
selection of books represents a broad spectrum of communities, ethnicities, and
social situations so kids are exposed to cultures outside of their everyday
interactions. A large whiteboard allows kids to write their thoughts and brainstorm
creative ideas. And finally, a presentation area serves as a place for guest
speakers to share their stories, complete with a large flat screen where
Trailblazers players can carry on Skype conversations with kids.
CJ’s Dream Center would not have been possible without the
support of several local organizations and AMA would like to recognize the Mohawk
Group for donating flooring and HL Stearns for providing the lighting free of
charge. We hope to have the opportunity again to work with CJ and the rest of his
partners in helping kids to dream big.