Monday, October 10, 2011

The Seattle Times - Boys and Girls Club

While taking the hour long break from our kids, which I usually manage most nights thanks to my husband, I picked up The Seattle Times at Starbucks and was really struck by one article. I started reading about how three generations of alumni met at the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood to have a reunion and barbecue.

Where do you remember spending time as a child? What do you remember doing? Is your youth filled with wonderful memories, are the memories of your childhood not so great, or maybe it was a mixture of both? As I was reading the article tonight, I thought of where I was as a child and it was a mixture of both good and bad times. I thought of our children and how they will remember their past.

It was so inspiring to hear how the alumni of North Seattle's Boys and Girls Club all had wonderful memories of this place which really stuck with them through their lives and how they all had a commonality, which was the place and how it was a home away from home.

The article went on to mention that the club had been in existence since 1948 when it was started to reduce vandalism and crime. I think that is awesome! A youth center that has been running for 68 years is obviously doing something right and ought to be praised. I continued to read that the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood is touching many peoples lives and having a real impact on them. My heart warmed because it's very rare that we read what good is happening in today's society.

I got involved, twelve years ago, with children and youth and reading this article tonight made me think about why. One reason is because I remember being 15 and... well... an idiot. When I asked my husband if he could remember being young and stupid and doing stupid things, he thought about it for a moment then with a coy smile said, "Yeah but I don't remember getting CAUGHT," and gave me a little laugh.

At one time or another we are all young. There's no escaping the idiotic things that some of us do. All of us are stupid at some point (or many points) and those of us willing to admit it are humbled at the thought. (Might I add that I am still very young at 28 so I, by no means am claiming to be any wiser than the next person...but I think I've got one up on the 15 year olds of the world!)

What helped me get through childhood and adolescence mostly unscathed is this: I had adult figures in my life. People I looked up to, admired and wanted to emulate. These role models helped keep me from breaking my neck, getting arrested or even getting myself pregnant at a young age. (Thank goodness they did too because I'd most likely have had TWINS knowing me!) I am convinced that without access to some of the hard-won wisdom of a grown up who's been there and done that, most of the members of our species would not have survived to their 20th year. I can also empathize with some of my closest friends who didn't have anyone like that in their life. How hard life can be if you don't have someone passing down the wisdom of older generations. This is one of the many reasons I have a Children's and Youth Work degree.

I thought the article in The Seattle Times was most inspiring! How I would love to be able to throw all my time and effort into youth and children's programs like I used to do. (like I'm not already, right!) I thought about how much I would love to help the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood as they link arms and support each and every young person who walks through the doors of their building. Though I don't have thousands of dollars to donate or have as much time to go there and be with the kids as I used to do with other groups, I think I can still do something for the Club in Greenwood.

The Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood has come across financial struggles and they are trying to improve the conditions of the building. How great would it be if the citizens of the City of Seattle were to gather together from all of our different walks of life and help build people up and get funds for this organisation?!

What I am proposing is that we make a small campaign for the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood. Together we have the resources and the networks to get funds together and have real fun doing it! The director of the Boys and Girls Club said that they are "bringing in new leaders and volunteers to get the club back up to the prominence it once had." How wonderful would it be to give them a monetary gift that they could use to bring about some of that change.

I'm currently working on ideas for drives, cake auctions or some ideas to help make the Boys an Girls Club some money. I don't know how much help I will be able to offer on my own, or with the amount of time that I currently have. What I do know is that we, together, can make an impact on our community. We may not know who is helping out on a daily basis at the Boys and Girls Club, volunteering, leading and passing on that all-important hard-won wisdom...but I don't think we need all the details to know that they are doing something good. What we do know is that they are giving themselves, they are mentoring the future of our city, and above all, they want the best for our kids. How much more do we need to know?

If this touches you, if you have a heart for the younger generation, this may be just right for you.
So, please do send me a comment or email if you want to be involved or have an idea. I would love to hear from you!


  1. You can get some good news in newspapers as well as bad news! Good for you.

  2. Great idea, Loralei! The Boys and Girls Club do awesome work and, of course, donations to non-profits have dropped. Good luck and I hope you have Fun with the FUNd Raising!