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Brookline High Alum Takes Helm of Teen Center

A new executive director takes the helm at Brookline Teen Center, and he is a Brookline High alum, Matthew Cooney from the class of '91.

The new guy in charge of the Brookline Teen Center--being --comes by way of , a press release from the Teen Center confirmed today. 

Matthew Cooney returned to Brookline five years ago, and will begin his new job as the Brookline Teen Center's executive director on June 18. His three children are now attending Brookline High. He replaces the Center's interim Executive Director Tom Mendelsohn. 

Said Mendelsohn in a press release, "The board, volunteers, donors and–most critically–the teen interns, can be proud of what has been accomplished. It will be under the focused and talented leadership of Mr. Cooney that BTC will garner sufficient funds to complete construction and reach the $10m goal that will ensure the construction and ultimately the long-term success of the new Brookline Teen Center."

Cooney was working as Director of Residential Services at the , a Needham-based network of academic and therapeutic programs for children diagnosed with severe emotional or behavioral issues. In the press release, he describes the Teen Center position as a "perfect fit."

Last October, the from  to help build the facility. Some include a music and recording studio, a two-lane bowling alley and an academic center. 

Those interested in contributing to the center can visit the Teen Center website for more information. 

The following is a press release from the Brookline Teen Center:

Brookline Teen Center Announces New Executive Director

BROOKLINE, MA (May 21, 2012) The Brookline Teen Center (BTC) did not have to go too far to find its new executive director. 

Matthew Cooney, a 1991 graduate of Brookline High School who returned to his hometown five years ago, will assume the role on June 18, after rising to the top of a competitive field of applicants by demonstrating outstanding leadership, and community-building and fundraising skills.

Cooney, whose three children attend Brookline public schools, comes to the BTC from Walker, an organization that provides academic and therapeutic support for children with severe emotional and behavioral issues. He served as Director of Residential Services for seven years, based at Walker’s Needham campus.

According to Paul Epstein, BTC Founder and Board Chair, “We are ecstatic to have Matt aboard as our Executive Director. He has an excellent record of inspiring youth, volunteers and donors, and exceptional management skills. He will be a tremendous leader to open the new Brookline Teen Center and guide the organization through this exciting next phase.”

The Teen Center will fill a gap in Brookline, which has no dedicated youth center, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club or JCC. The result of a seven-year, teen driven effort, the organization is focused on providing safe and healthy out-of-school activities for all teens who live or attend school, public or private, in Brookline. Since 2006, more than 100 teen interns have spent their summers working side-by-side with adult professionals conceptualizing the center, creating its architectural plans, developing a website and brochure, crafting by-laws and rules of conduct, and engaging donors.

Cooney is looking forward to the challenge of his new role. “This position is a perfect fit for me. I care deeply about Brookline and I am excited to assume a leadership role within the community as the Teen Center Executive Director.” 

Under the guidance of Epstein and part-time Interim Executive Director Tom Mendelsohn, the BTC has successfully passed several critical milestones to ensure its success. The BTC now boasts: a 25-year lease; completed permitting with the Town of Brookline; detailed architectural plans; and a $4m bridge loan from Brookline Bank to finance construction. The BTC will break ground very soon, and the hiring of Cooney is a crucial step toward launching the organization.

According to Mendelsohn, “The board, volunteers, donors and–most critically–the teen interns, can be proud of what has been accomplished. It will be under the focused and talented leadership of Mr. Cooney that BTC will garner sufficient funds to complete construction and reach the $10m goal that will ensure the construction and ultimately the long-term success of the new Brookline Teen Center.”

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