The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada is aiming high for the future. The Club has brought on a new chief professional officer, turned earth on its new teen center in October and partnered with a local marketing firm to create a new website and marketing plan.
Katie Leao, formerly the director of development at Western Nevada College, hit the ground running in early November. The position had been vacant since August.
“We are excited to have Katie on board to help us move forward,” said Jonathon Olivas, president of the club’s board of directors. “She has great energy and good relationships in the community. It’s awesome to see many of our past visions coming to fruition, specifically the teen center and our partnerships with the city and the MAC.”
The MAC, the city’s new multi-use athletic center funded by Question 18 dating back to 1998 and supplemented by the 1/8th cent sales tax enacted in October 2014, is scheduled to open in late December under a joint use agreement with the club. The teen center, estimated to be complete in spring 2016, will house 6,000 square feet of activities oriented toward 13- to 17-year olds.
“The teen center will unite and ignite our community by giving our kids a place to go to learn leadership, basic financial skills, and college preparation, all in a safe, fun environment,” Leao said. “With the outstanding commitment of the board, volunteers and staff, we have a fantastic opportunity to blow the roof off what we provide. The possibilities are endless.”
Leao said naming opportunities are still open for the center, and they are seeking donors to help with funding for teen programming and club operations, as well as volunteers to be involved in advisory boards and committees.
Although the club receives requests for information on how people can help, Leao said the community is often unaware of all the great services offered to area children.
“While we offer scholarships for certain students, this is a place where kids of all demographics come to thrive, from the time they are six years old until they graduate,” she said. “But people don’t know that we also offer homework help, programs in the arts, athletics and nutrition, as well as supervised play, or that we operate centers in both Carson City and the Carson Valley.”
The club has partnered with Carson City marketing agency, In Plain Sight Marketing, LLC, to increase community awareness and to introduce the club’s many amenities to parents, future members and donors. IPSM was vetted through a request for proposal process that included six companies in Carson City, Douglas County and Reno, and was awarded the contract to provide integrated marketing through a new website, social media, public and community relations and event marketing.
“We are excited to work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada,” said Renee Plain, chief executive officer of IPSM. “I have my own Boys & Girls Club stories from middle school so it’s a project that is near and dear to my heart.”
Olivas said the board decided to move forward with marketing to increase visibility for the club’s existing programs, as well as the new center.
“We’re pleased to partner with a local agency with great standing and relationships in the community,” he said. “With IPSM’s expertise we will get the word out about everything the Boys & Girls Club has to offer.”
Leao, who in her first three weeks has already earned the nickname “Taz” from her staff, said she is taking advantage of the club’s forward momentum.
“It’s an exciting time to come in,” Leao said. “We have many reasons to be proud. We have an extremely committed board and many of our staff members have been here 10 years or more. Our overall vision for the club is to make it the place to be for kids in our community. We want parents to be proud to say, ‘my child goes there.’”