On a recent visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, I had the great opportunity to spend time with local Boys & Girls Club staff, board members and, of course, kids! Joining me was local resident Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, who sits on the BGCA Board of Governors and is chair for our Pacific Region.
Carrie also shared important new elements of Money Matters: Make It Count with Club personnel. The Charles Schwab Foundation has supported the financial literacy program for Club teens for over a decade.
Next, we headed to the corporate office of Ross Stores. We’re very excited about the in-store fundraiser going on this month at over 1,200 Ross stores nationwide. Through Feb. 28, you can support your local Clubs by making a donation at the register. We are so grateful for the generous support Ross Stores has provided BGCA and Clubs for the past 10 years.
East Bay Bound
We then headed to the East Bay and the Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante. Executive Director Billy Zeier has taken full advantage of BGCA programs to build great futures for kids. Inside the recently enhanced Teen Center, for instance, members can enrich their occupational and academic skills with programs like College Bound, CareerLaunch and Diplomas to Degrees. Of course, kids also love the fun and games such as billiards, air hockey, foosball and XBOX 360.
We also met several board members, including President Renee Rowland and Jim Hammack, who also plays an instrumental role for the Northern California Area Council.
Remembering Don Fisher
Our final stop was the San Francisco Boys & Girls Clubs’ (one of our 53 founding Clubs) brand new Don Fisher Clubhouse. It’s named for the late BGCA governor and founder of The Gap. The amazing 30,000-square-foot, three-story facility includes a six-lane pool, full-size gym, music and art studios, game room, library and separate study halls for elementary, middle and high school students. Just kids and staff are allowed inside. All other adults, including parents, can only access the lobby or pool area. The thinking is that the more grown-ups there are hanging around the Club, the less likely kids will want to hang out there, too. Congratulations to President Rob Connolly and his team for bringing this much needed Club to life for local kids.
All three Clubs are making a profound difference and transforming the lives of kids who need them most. They’re redefining the opportunity equation by providing kids with access to great experiences and caring adults. In their own way, each Club is helping fortify an American Dream that is so much at risk.