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Boys & Girls Club serving today’s youth

Katie Leao
Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada
Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada members ham it up in the art room at the club in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, Jan. 23, 2016.
Cathleen Allison | Nevada Photo Source

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, with five sites in Carson City and the Carson Valley, provides a safe, structured and positive environment for young people after school, during holidays and summer vacation.

Our core programming areas include the arts; character and leadership; education and career development; health and life skills; and sports, fitness and recreation. Each of these areas incorporate educational curriculum, team-building activities and interpersonal skill building, and are designed to help youth create aspirations for the future, become responsible, caring citizens, and engage in positive behaviors to benefit their physical, intellectual and emotional well-being.

With 47 adult staff and 39 volunteers, we served 7,594 youth in 2015, between our 2,594 registered members and approximately 5,000 served through community outreach. CLUB DEMOGRAPHICS

86 percent of our members are 12 years or younger

45 percent are minority races or ethnicities

50 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch

46 percent live in single parent households

Our mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.

History

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada is part of a nationwide network located in every state, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and U.S. military installations overseas. We have been a cornerstone of the Carson City community since opening our doors in 1993.

Previously located at a historic site on Stewart Street, we moved into our current 12,000-square-foot location on Russell Way in August 2009.

In January 2016, the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department opened the long-awaited Multi-Use Athletic Center or M.A.C. with a Joint-Use Agreement between Carson City and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada. Because of space and weather constraints before the M.A.C., our ability to provide quality physical activities and programming at the Club was limited.

Only one in three children in the United States is physically active on a daily basis, playing a huge role in their physical and intellectual development. Now, whether rain, snow, shine or wind, we are able to ensure that our members will receive at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, promoting a healthy lifestyle and greatly expanding our array of interactive/engaging physical programming. Our average daily club attendance is 376 kids, and 67 percent of those kids use the M.A.C. on a daily basis. We predict the number of kids enjoying the M.A.C. will continue to increase.

In June 2016, we will open our brand new 6,500-square-foot teen center, made possible by a generous grant from the Pennington Foundation, matched by the generosity of our club sponsors and donors.

We offer a unique service to the families in Carson City and Carson Valley and as a non-profit, we rely on community partners to help keep our doors open and give us the ability to grow our programs to increase the number of kids and teens we serve in the community.

Club impact on local teens

Our current teen center serves nearly 300 kids over the age of 12. In Carson City, 22 percent of young people fail to graduate from high school on time. Among our teenaged club members, 99 percent expect to graduate from high school, and two-thirds of our teenage club members expect to complete some kind of post-secondary education.

Additionally, 31 percent of high school youth in Carson City were involved in a physical fight last year. Through our programing, we empower youth to become global citizens who support and influence their club and community, and develop good character and a positive self-image, respecting their own and others’ identities. We are proud to say 89 percent of our club members volunteer in their community at least once a year, and 60 percent volunteer at least once a month.

Amber Cuellar, 18, is our 2016 State Youth of the Year. Cuellar, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at an early age, joined the Club at age 11. She said the Club has provided her with a safe, fun environment in which to grow, and now serves as junior staff at the Carson City Club.

“Before joining the Club, I felt scared, alone and in the dark every day,” she said. “The light that guides me is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, providing me with safety, family and hope. It provides a safe environment to have fun and it ignites my passion to help others by sharing my knowledge with younger members.”

Cuellar plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall to study computer engineering. She was accepted into the Women in Science and Engineering Living and Learning Center and plans to continue volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club during winter and summer breaks.

“The Club allows you to be who you want to be,” she said. “You should never be scared to be who you are.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

With your generous support, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada will create opportunities to help more kids and teens achieve great futures. To make a donation or to learn about other ways you can help, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, 775-882-8820 or visit http://www.bgcwn.org to donate online.

Katie Leao is the chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada.