Dick Campagni, a long-time donor to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, has extended the deadline for the company’s dollar to dollar match up to $10,000 in the Campagni Toyota and Scion Community Challenge to April 30. The program was originally expected to end on April 1.
“We feel it’s important to give back to our community, particularly our youth,” Campagni said. “We believe in helping kids, and the Boys & Girls Club is a great organization to partner with to keep our kids safe.”
The Clubs are raising funds through the Community Challenge to support the new Teen Center, which opens in June. Katie Leao, chief professional officer for the Clubs, said they are currently at about 40 percent of their fundraising goal through the Community Challenge.
Leao said the Boys & Girls Clubs have tremendous impact on area youth, and the new teen center provides area teens with a place of their own in which to learn, develop good character and a positive self-image, and to respect their own and others’ identities.
“In Carson City, 31 percent of our high school youth were involved in a physical altercation,” she said. “We empower our youth to become global citizens. As a result of our teen programming, 89 percent of Club teen members volunteer in their community at least once a year, and 60 percent volunteer in their community at least once per month. That’s the kind of citizenship we foster and celebrate with our members.”
Last year the Clubs served 7,594 youth with 47 adult staff and 39 volunteers in its five locations in Carson City and the Carson Valley. Leao said the Clubs’ current Teen Center is too small to meet the needs of current and future members.
“Every day, 98,000 kids in Nevada leave school with nowhere to go,” she said. “They risk being unsupervised, unguarded and unsafe. Our Club, and particularly our new Teen Center, gives these kids a welcoming place to do homework, play sports, participate in the arts and make friends.”
Julian Alvarado, 18, has been coming to the Clubs since he was six years old.
“I grew up here at the Club,” he said. “It was a safe place to come, to get away from the house, hang out with my friends and play sports.”
Alvarado, 18, played basketball and baseball at Carson High School and graduated in 2015. He went through the Clubs’ rigorous training program, growing up through the ranks through the Leader in Training volunteer program, moving up to Junior Staff, and is now a part-time member of the staff who’s going full time in summer.
“I like coming to help the kids,” he said. “Whether they’ve had a bad day or a good day, they share with me about their lives. It’s cool because I know what these kids go through, and now I know what the staff goes through. I was always getting in trouble and now I know what I put them through.”
Alvarado was on the committee for the Teen Center, and said the new center will provide a bigger place for teens to hang out and separate them from the younger kids.
“Older kids talk about and do different things than younger kids,” Matt Sampson, program director for the Clubs said. “Our teens deserve it — they’ve grown up in the Club and are making an impact on future generations. We’re excited for them to have a place of their own.”
Donations can be made by visiting the donor page on the Clubs’ website, http://bgcwn.org/, or by calling the Clubs at (775) 882-8820. Donors must mention the Campagni Toyota Scion Community Challenge to ensure matching funds.