Remember when that guy caught the ball in the back of the end zone as time expired, or when the other guy hit the home run with 2 strikes and 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth or that goal in overtime or that steal under his own basket to preserve victory and you screamed at the TV, “unbelievable!”
Well it wasn’t.
Unbelievable is when someone does something most sane people don’t think can be done, and despite all the obstacles, and the years, and all the letdowns, and all the false starts and all the agonizing disappoints and all the naysayers, they persist until their vision is reality.
Six years or so ago I became one of the many volunteers to help Paul Epstein, then Interim Director Tom Mendleson and now Director Matt Cooney, with their quest to make the Brookline Teen Center a reality. Countless student volunteers and interns helped the cause over the last 8 years, many knowing they wouldn’t even be teenagers when the Center was finally complete.
Paul and the many of us who supported him, knew what the Teen Center would mean to generations of teens. Countless poor kids, rich kids, and all the kids in between will be affected in life-changing ways by their Teen Center experiences. For this is not just a building we are talking about. No stone has gone unturned to make this facility the beacon of all Teen Centers. Passionate professionals have created every detail with painstaking love.
For 8 years Paul, with the support the great Epstein clan and his friends and followers, held on and persevered. Paul stared at the garage at 40 Aspinall for years waiting to secure the location, and then spent countless evenings sitting in the empty space for more years until enough donations came in to break ground. It took about 5.4 million dollars in private money raised over 8 years to get to this Brookline Teen Center Grand Opening.
Does anything mean more to you than what our young people need? That’s what this Teen Center is in spades, what our young people need. And we gave it to them. It doesn’t get any better than that.
The days leading up to the grand opening of the Teen center will end on Sunday, September 15 from 2-5. Monday will be Day 1 for our young people. If you haven’t already, go to brooklineteencenter.org to learn about the many ways you can volunteer or just visit the BTC offices at 40 Aspinwall. You can also visit the site to donate money to the cause.
There will be a time when the Teen Center will be so engrained in our community people will think it was always here. Never forget that once the thought of this happening was “unbelievable” and a guy named Paul Epstein thought it up and believed when some others didn’t until our young people got what they needed.
There is a word that describes someone who turns unbelievable into incredible reality. Paul Epstein is a “hero” in every sense of the word.
R. Harvey Bravman, Publisher