Boys & Girls Club returns to Park City
Good news for antsy kids and overworked parents. After delaying its opening for three months, the Park City branch of the Boys & Girls Club will reopen its doors on Dec. 1.
In August, the club announced that the September opening of the Park City branch would be put on hold this year due to the unavailability of a federal grant.
LeAnn Saldivar, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, knew the delay would disappoint the 380 or so kids that spent several afternoons per week at the club during the 2007-08 school year.
The organization appealed to City Council for a temporary rent waiver for the City Park building previously used for club programs. The council agreed that if the club could rally enough money to fund its start-up and sustain its programs throughout the school year, the rent waiver was theirs.
"We were in a do-or-die situation," Saldivar explains. The club had 60 days to raise the amount needed to get the club up and running — $15,000.
As they often do in urgent situations, Parkites dug deep and came to the rescue. Thanks to private contributions and a resident who agreed to match any donation from community members, the club is able to resume its activities starting next month.
The Boys & Girls Club provides after school homework help and recreational programs to kids in grades three through nine. For a yearly membership fee of $10, kids hone their character and leadership skills, enhance health and life skills, set education and career goals, and engage in arts, sports and fitness activities. They also have to opportunity to participate in special presentations on drug and alcohol awareness, gang awareness and community service.
In addition to having fun, meeting new friends and learning new things, the kids form relationships with the staff and volunteers, Saldivar explains. "It becomes a mentor situation," she says. Notably, a 2007 National Harris Survey reported that 57 percent of surveyed Boys & Girls Club alumni said that being involved in the club "saved their life."
Ultimately, Saldivar says, the Park City branch must continue to raise money in order to sustain its activities. The annual operating cost for the club is about $100,000. They must also find a location in which the club can operate year round. Saldivar hopes that the branch can expand to allow more kids to participate on a daily basis. "The community is the sustaining factor," she says.
The club will host an Open House on Monday, Nov. 24 from 5-7 p.m. at 1400 Sullivan Road (the building located behind the playground at City Park). Community members are invited to come meet staff and volunteers and check out what types of services the club provides.
For more information on the Boys & Girls Club, to print a membership form or to make a donation, please visit http://www.bgcgsl.org . Those interested in volunteering may contact LeAnn Saldivar at (801) 322-4411.
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