by Nicole Kennedy,
Vice President of Development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona
The Boys & Girls Clubs has a proud history of serving youth in communities nationwide since 1860. Founded originally as a Boys’ Club in Connecticut, it has grown tremendously, serving over four million boys and girls annually between more than 4,000 clubs. Locally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona serve youth in the Quad-cities, with clubs in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley. Each day, our local clubs see almost 200 kids.
One such Club kid is PJ, a member of our Prescott club. PJ loves attending the club so much that what he wants more than anything is to be a staff member. PJ’s favorite thing to do is help staff and other club kids. He even gives new members tours of the facility. There is rarely a day that he is not at the club, all smiles and ready for the day’s activities. Activities are as varied as our kids – whether cross-training in the gym, volunteering around town, or simply doing their homework.
While each club kid has their own story, they all share the need to belong. Every child deserves to be part of a community where they are safe and surrounded by peers and adults who truly care about their future. That is the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs, to serve all kids who need us most, helping them to reach their full potential along the way.
The last thing we want to do is turn away a child in need. Yet, since 2016, both Prescott and Prescott Valley clubs have had a wait list, simply because of limited capacity. We live in one of the fastest growing towns in the area, and serve a community with limited options for after school programming. Gerald Szostak, Executive Director of our local clubs, explains, “Our organization has experienced significant growth in the last four years. The youth of our community deserve a first class facility that offers a safe environment for them to grow and thrive.”
Won’t you help us expand our services, so we can serve more kids in need?
While we have a time-tested, national model to guide us in implementing life-changing programs, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona relies only on our local community to make these services a reality. Together with our community, we have plans to expand and enhance our existing facilities in Prescott and Prescott Valley.
In Prescott Valley, the expansion of an 8,000-square-foot gym will be a community asset, providing a safe place for Boys & Girls Club kids, but will also act as a hub for community events, intramural sports and more. In Prescott, a playground will provide much needed space for children to get outside, learn and play. Both clubs will benefit from a remodel of the existing space — as both were originally designed as community adult centers, with vastly different space planning than what best fits the needs of children.
You can help make a difference for the kids who are waiting to be part of a life-changing experience at Boys & Girls Clubs. Invest in building great futures for our youth by calling (928) 776-8686 or visiting bgccaz.org.