Since 1971, the Boys & Girls Club of Yellowstone County has worked to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Striving to fulfill this mission has empowered the Club to grow each year and currently the Club serves more than 700 young people each day. Those 700 youth and teens represent 18 elementary, middle and high schools in Billings and Lockwood. In a world that has never seemed more threatening and devoid of promise for a disproportionate number of America's children, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County provides youth, ages 6 to18 a tangible measure of hope. The Club offers them what they need and want most:
• adults who respect and listen to them;
• a safe environment where they can have fun and be themselves; and
• interesting, constructive activities that channel youthful energy into challenging pursuits.
One of the essential services the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County provides is a food program; which is designed to help meet one of the most basic needs of our Club members --- having enough to eat. Given the significant number of our members living at or near the poverty line their families are stretched to provide both adequate and balanced meals. In 2017, 922 of the 2,600 members the Club collectively served reported living below the Federal poverty line; which is $24,600 for a family of four. Through the Club's Food Program members have an opportunity to get the nutrition they need so they can both relieve some stress on their family and be able to focus on their progress toward future success without the distraction of an empty stomach. Funding from Rotary will be dedicated towards addressing the equipment needs in our Bair Family Clubhouse kitchen to ensure we have the necessary appliances, storage and set up to prepare and serve the food daily to Club members.
The overall cost for equipment upgrades or replacement is $15,000.00. These upgrades can be made incrementally over the course of the next two years. Immediate needs for this year are: 1) Replacement of the standup freezer ($1,500.00); 2) Storm Screen Door on the back entrance of the kitchen ($500.00) as it is uncommon to see the back door to the Bair
Family kitchen propped open as there is no air conditioning; and 3) Replacement of washer and dryer ($3,000.00).
The funds secured through the Rotary grant would be designated to replacing these three items first for a total cost of $5,000.00. If additional funding is awarded we will look to upgrade the dual stove and oven ($10,000).
Members from Rotary can volunteer their time and talent inside the Clubhouses. The organization is always looking for talented individuals to share their skills with Club kids; whether it is fly tying, knitting or reading. Additionally, members from Rotary can serve as advocates for our program by sharing the Club mission and needs with others in
the community. Some of the proposed volunteer opportunities for the Rotary members include the following:
1. As part of the remodel, help deep clean the kitchen following construction.
2. The kids are learning to play chess and checkers. They would like some volunteers to play with the kids.