The goal was one year.
Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino assured the youth at the Nicetown Boys and Girls Club last spring that he'd help their crumbling haven get an overdue makeover.
Through the foundation that bears his name, Victorino and his wife donated $900,000 to the club, and construction on the 105-year-old building, once slated for possible closing, began last week. The updated center - with its upgraded teen room, technology center, fully equipped gym, and art room, among other offerings - is scheduled to reopen in late summer.
Victorino has said that growing up, the Boys and Girls Club "gave me some place to go after school. That's why I chose this program. I wasn't born and raised here, but I understand some of these areas need something uplifting."
Programs at the club, situated across from Simon Gratz, the neighborhood high school, will include Goals for Graduation, tutoring help called Power Hour, sports leagues, and a drama club.
"It gives children a safe environment once school is done," said Jeffrey Waldron, chief executive of the Boys and Girls Clubs Of Philadelphia, "and it creates an activity center for that neighborhood."
Throughout the city, about 13,000 young people, most of them from struggling homes, come to the organization's 12 clubs.
To boost its programming, philanthropist John C. Haas, who sat on the organization's board for more than 50 years, in 2009 donated $3 million, paid over three years.
The gift, the largest in the organization's 123-year history, sparked a three-year, $6 million fund-raising campaign called "Be Great, Philadelphia!"
"The biggest thing we've been able to do is reinvigorate our programming," said Waldron, who noted that last summer, for the first time in a long while, the clubs extended their hours.
The goal of the "Be Great" effort is to attract more teens through creative, expanded programming, something the organization, particularly the Nicetown club, has lacked the facilities and resources to provide in recent years.
"Statistically," Waldron said, "our young people are really struggling to get through school, and often there's not enough support mechanisms." Coming to the clubs "provides encouragement to help them meet their goals."
This month, the organization sent about 40 young delegates to its national conference in Florida. It will hire dozens of Philadelphia teens this summer to work in the local clubs. Coming trips include hiking in the Grand Canyon, and a photography program with a National Geographic journalist is in the works.
In addition to increasing its teen programming, the campaign aims to update old club facilities and establish an endowment for the organization.