Two representatives from the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County pitched members of the Sun Prairie Lions Club Sept. 26 on the new Sun Prairie Boys and Girls Club facility scheduled to open in January at 232 Windsor St.
Dr. Sarah Ghee, executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County (BGCDC), and Janine Stephens, chief development officer for BGCDC, gave about a 10 minute presentation to members of the Sun Prairie Lions Club at the Lions Clubhouse in the Town of Bristol.
“As far as the Boys and Girls Club and programming, we’re a youth development leader in youth programming and what we do is we provide opportunities for youth to thrive,” Ghee said. “Many youth go home after school and are unsupervised. What we do is we provide opportunities for them to come and engage in programming that really helps them develop as youth.”
Another offering is power hour, where kids get 45 minutes of help with their homework.
“We also have something called career launch where they have an opportunity to explore different careers while they’re there,” Ghee said. “We feed them nutritious meals. And I’m not just saying like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — I mean they have, like, spaghetti dinners with garlic bread and salad. We really take the opportunity. We have a full-time cook and she’s great. She’s been there for many years and we ensure that when they go home at six o’clock that they’re not expecting a meal from their mother or their father or their parents. We make sure that they are full when they go home.”
Youth have plenty of opportunities from traveling to Washington DC to tour the Capitol, to learning martial arts, to learning to swim — all in the summer months, Ghee said.
“So basically we ensure that when they come to our clubs, they have someone that they know cares about them, they can trust, [and] they talk to our staff,” Ghee said. “They have really great relationships and we do everything we can when they get there to engage them in activities that are positive for them.”
Stephens said during the past year, BGCDC served more than 136,000 meals and snacks to club participants.
“We served nearly 400 kids this summer,” Stephens said, adding that more than 1,000 kids were served this summer at local clubs.
“And one of the biggest things is that we do, we are one of the only Boys and Girls Club that has a public-private partnership with the school district. So we actually have staff that are in the schools with the teachers, with the students throughout the day,” Stephens said. “And so we’re constantly having that relationship with them, and making sure that we’re all working together to ensure that they graduate on time and have a plan for what they’re going to do in the future.
“To speak to our Sun Prairie location, what you just received is an opportunity for you to leave a legacy in the foundation of our club. Being that this is in your own backyard, it just talks a little bit about what Sarah spoke to,” Stephens said.
“This is a new location for us. It is also a new opportunity for us to expand our services to those young kids who need us the most in those young babies, two and a half to five years old,” Stephens said. “And it’s also an opportunity for families who have had some roots in Sun Prairie or just setting roots in Sun Prairie and be able to provide support so that we can open those doors in January.”
Members of the public may purchase commemorative bricks in six different sizes and prices, ranging from 4-by-8 inches to 24-inches square. Check out the options online at bgcdc.org/donate.
“And as people walk in, they’ll be able to see your name, your family name, your child’s name, or you can sponsor a child or a family member or leave it in their memory,” Stephens explained. “But it gives them an opportunity, or you an opportunity, to be able to leave your legacy in the foundation of opening this amazing space that’s going to help so many youth in this community.”
The new 2.69 acre Sun Prairie club set to open in January will offer multi-use classrooms, a technology hub, a playground, an art room, a full kitchen where snacks and meals are served, and a theatre for performing arts.
For more information, check out bgcdc.org/donate.