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Chester County Press

Editorial: A new home for inspiring human potential

04/26/2022 11:16AM ● By Richard Gaw

On the evening of Monday, May 2 in the Avondale Borough, a brilliant new chapter will begin for one of the most influential organizations in the recent history of southern Chester County, when a new home for The Garage Community & Youth Center will officially open.

Since it was founded 20 years ago, The Garage has served thousands of middle school and high school students in Kennett Square and West Grove as an after-school and youth development center. Both locations have become an open door of inspiration, leadership, tutelage, mentoring and kindness, extended by The Garage’s staff and its many volunteers. The effects of these efforts are powerful and everlasting, and to give evidence of their impact, the leadership of several non-profit organizations throughout our region is dotted liberally with former Garage students.

Beginning more than a year ago, conversations started that saw the potential of The Garage’s West Grove center moving from its Rosehill Avenue location to a new and larger home at the former Avondale Fire House, which later served as the offices for a Servpro franchise. Christine Trumbell, the wife of the late David Hughes – the founder of Servpro and a long-time community advocate – began to imagine the old firehouse as a home for an even larger purpose. She told Garage Executive Director Kristin Proto that David saw it as an honor to be able to work in the historic building and that she wanted its future to be occupied by an agency or cause that would make the community better.

After The Garage purchased the building last September, it embarked on a months-long effort – led largely by its volunteers, its board of directors and the community itself – to transform the 11,000 square-foot, two story facility. There is now an indoor recreational gymnasium, a performance stage with portable seating, creative areas, a small café, an expanded commercial kitchen and meal preparation area, quiet academic study spaces, WiFi and computer access for students, administrative offices, meeting areas and additional space that will be used to welcome local non-profit and legal aid organizations who partner with The Garage.

The new location on Pennsylvania Avenue in Avondale will not just serve as an expanded model of an existing operation, but become an incubator for ideas, growth and mentorship for generations of young people for decades to come.

We applaud those whose imagination made The Garage Community & Youth Center what it has become; we praise the work of Kristin Proto and her staff and Garage volunteers, as well as the coalition of partnerships who have joined hands with The Garage; and we wish those who grace its newest location to continue to believe in this organization’s unrelenting power to inspire human potential.

To learn more about The Garage Community & Youth Center and to make a contribution, visit