In a neighbourhood home to the once notorious Galloway Boys gang, expanding a child and youth centre could be a key to steering youth away from crime.

The Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough, which provides services such as mentoring, leadership training and licensed childcare, is set to undergo a nearly $4 million makeover next year — an expansion that will add arts, media and dance studios, room for new programs, and a second floor. Sketches for the 8,500-square-foot expansion — on top of the current 22,260 square feet — show a lot of new windows and a fancy, glass-enclosed walkway around the building.

Last year, the club served 16,000 young people; the goal is to stretch that to 25,000.

This week it launched a campaign to collect $1.5 million of the remaining funds needed for the expansion — kicked off with a $30,000 gift from former councillor David Soknacki, who represented the area until 2006 and donated his severance to the project.

About $2.4 million has been raised.