Abdul’Haq Muhammed had a vision to turn a former night club, known drug house and place where shootings regularly occurred into a place where high-risk children, living among drug dealers and violent offenders, could come and learn about the arts, science, math and technology and find a pathway to a better life.

Muhammed’s goal was to help all children who wanted to be part of such a place.

He created the Quality Life Center where thousands of children have come to the door and left with better lives and high goals. But after 21 years of building better futures at the center’s current location, Muhammed, the center’s executive director, realized he faced leaving teenagers at the door because the facility was out of room.

That’s why Muhammed and many others in the community embarked on a fundraising journey to expand the center on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Fort Myers.

Quality Life Center children listen to speakers to the ceremonial ground-breaking ceremonies for a center expansion.

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Quality Life Center children listen to speakers to the ceremonial ground-breaking ceremonies for a center expansion. (Photo: Tom Hayden/The News-Press)

Friday morning, in front of about 100 community leaders and many children from the “Q,” there was a ceremonial ground breaking as the center approaches its goal of $1.5 million to expand by 5,400 square feet to allow for more children and add nutrition and job training programs.

Muhammed, his board and the children need about $300,000 more to complete the goal.

“We place great emphasis on the opportunity afforded to us,” Muhammed told the crowd under a tent near where the expansion will take place. 

“This is another step in the transformation of the community,” said Bre Brice, currently a student at Alabama A & M and QLC student. “It takes a consistent effort of people fighting for a better life.”