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Conway Community Center Gym Renovation Reveal!


It was a jam-packed day for the Sanneh Foundation as our team and volunteers prepared for the grand re-opening of the Conway Community Center gym and kitchen, a project that has been a vision of Tony Sanneh’s for a long time, and that took a lot of time, preparation, and hard work to turn the vision into a reality. The Conway Community Center was in dire need of a gym and kitchen renovation, as it has been over 40 years since the inside of the community center has had anything new.

The renovation was a process that took a lot of partners and a lot of helping hands. First, the gym was closed for almost a month to get the project done. Conway sports teams practiced at neighboring gyms and recreation centers.

During the month of January, Thor Construction and the Heart of America Foundation came in with their hard hats and got right to work, demolishing the gym, kitchen and dining room areas. They took down old basketball hoops, removed appliances, brought in drywall and machinery, Conway was a real construction site.

Before you knew it, most of the heavy work was done. The gym and kitchen were brand new, only needing a few finishing touches. Our friends from the Dark Clouds, Knock Inc., the Heart of America Foundation, U.S. Bank, and Under Armor were all clutch in providing The Sanneh Foundation with awesome volunteers to come into Conway and help with painting, decoration, layout, and clean-up.

Volunteers came ready to work. The atmosphere in Conway was vibrating with positivity. People were very happy. Great music flowed throughout Conway keeping the energy up. Volunteers ranged from elementary ages all the way up to grandmas and grandpas, and everything in between. Some who came from far and some who grew up right in the Upper East Side. One who is a two-time Super Bowl champion and 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Inductee- Ray Lewis! Ray was in town for the big game and came to the Conway Community Center to see what we were up to. Ray Lewis even got to work, as we quickly handed him a paint brush. He also took a power drill and helped hang signs. The final finish came close, as volunteers were working all the way up until the reveal.

The place started to fill up with visitors who came for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Sanneh Foundation Board Members, Sponsors, and partners came to celebrate the wonderful new space. A few Conway kids got to see what they had been waiting a month for. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter III came back to attend the ribbon cutting and also speak, along with Thor Construction CEO Ravi Norman, Heart of America CEO Jill Heath, Senior VP of US Bank Foundation Reba Dominiski, and of course The Sanneh Foundation CEO Tony Sanneh. Member of the Minnesota Senate Carla Nelson, and member of the Minnesota House of Representatives Tama Theis, were also in attendance.

After speeches and thank you’s, the ribbon came out and Mr. Tony Sanneh was handed a big pair of scissors. “Anyone want to help me cut this?”, he asked, and all the kids from Conway rushed behind the ribbon to assist. 3…2…1… slice. The ribbon was cut, and festivities began! The kids had tons of energy built up inside for the re-opening of the gym! Kids were put through activities such as lightning and obstacle course led by the Heart of America Foundation, and adults went to take a tour of the new spaces. Later in the night, the Conway Community Center had a party for all community members to see.

All-in-all this was one of the greatest days for the Sanneh Foundation. We are so grateful for everything that went into this project. Thank you to all who made this day possible. The support of the community really shows the kids how much they matter, and that people care about them. Our new space is such a joy to use!

Click the link to watch the facebook live version of the Ribbon Cutting: []