Estimates put the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula’s Campaign for Kids about $20,000 short of its goal.
Executive Director Mary Budke said the clubs in Sequim and Port Angeles can solicit donations through Sept. 7, before the United Way of Clallam County, with which they are joint partners, begins its own fundraising efforts.
“We’re continuing our fundraising and we expect to get at least $10,000 more in donations before Sept. 7,” Budke said. “That leaves us about $10,000 short.”
Campaign organizers met the goal in 2010 but not in 2009. The clubs made some headway on July 30 with their second annual Phone-A-Thon, earning about $10,000.
The current shortfall
won’t affect core services, Budke said, but staff and the board of directors plan to evaluate other options such as limiting field trips and transportation.
“We’re going to increase our grant writing and public appeals,” Budke said.
“Curtailing programs is not an option. Programming is too vital.”
Budke said the outlook could have been worse without support.
“My thanks goes out in every fashion to the community,” she said.
“We are supported locally and with grants. Our programming is designed to meet the needs of the community.”
On top of money woes, the club expects membership to increase.
“As the economy stays depressed then our demand goes up for after school services,” said Jerry Sinn, the clubs’ board president.
Memberships are $30 a year, with 496 paid memberships in Sequim and 126 in Port Angeles. Budke estimates about 90 percent of teens are unpaid members and the Sequim club serves another 220 unpaid students not included in membership counts.
The clubs’ leaders said the public often recommends raising membership fees. But Sinn said raising membership fees is not in line with the clubs’ principles or their mission. Budke and Sinn said the clubs don’t turn people away.
“Our middle and high school population is truly those in need and kids ages 5-12 are a mix of our population of the well-off to poorly resourced,” Budke said.
“We’re here for the under-resourced and those who need us the most. Port Angeles is above the 50 percent free/reduced lunch ratio and Sequim is approaching that. We need support more than ever. We often know this is their last meal of the day.”
Sinn said the clubs must transcend the babysitter service stereotype, too.
“If it’s simply building four walls around a group of kids, then that’s babysitting,” Sinn said.
“We build programs around art, computers, physical activities and a game room. Everything is structured.
We try to teach kids things while we’re here.”
Budke said the clubs are designed to be a mentoring facility with goals in place for all students to graduate high school and stay out of the juvenile justice system.
Staff receives training on filing reports to child-protective services, on discipline and on defusing situations.
“We don’t fly alone here,” Budke said.
“We write incident reports and follow up on them. Our staff is on their feet and rolling. We use basic classroom management techniques.”
Along with monetary donations, the clubs are collecting school supplies for students. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, contact the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St., at 683-8095.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.