Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids gave thanks with their families and kids
November 28th, 2013
Steil Club members, Club staff and volunteers gave thanks Tuesday, November 26th, when 230 Club members and their families came together to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal provided by St. Stephens Parish. This is the fifth year that St. Stephens Parish has provided dinner for the Steil Club. And although the task is no easy one, Julie VanGessel and her husband Mike take it on each year. Club members also had the opportunity to spend time with members of St. Stephens youth group and make crafts for their families.
Over 90 Seidman Club members, parents, staff and volunteers gathered Tuesday night to fellowship and give thanks. Families and Club members enjoyed a dinner of turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls and plenty of yummy desserts. Special thanks to our volunteers Board President Michelle Wickens, her daughter Coral, Marlene Kowalski-Braun, Victoria Johnson, current Seidman volunteers, and members of the Kappa Alpha Psi of Grand Rapids.
Over 100 Club members and their families shared the Thanksgiving spirit a little early this year at the Paul I. Phillips Club. Families and Club members enjoyed a dinner of turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls and plenty of yummy desserts. Special thanks to our volunteers, Board Member Elias Neuhujar, Jeremy and Diane Barber, Board Treasurer Dustin Hopkins and family, Tom and Beth High, Clarice Denison, and Peaches McCahill and her son Champ.
Grand Rapids area SUBWAY® Restaurants partner with local police to promote child safety
November 27th, 2013
SUBWAY® and Grand Rapids police will kick-off their new Child Identification campaign with safety presentations at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids!
SUBWAY® restaurants and the Michigan State Police will launch a Child ID Campaign designed to help parents obtain vital information about their children that can help police in the event that they become lost or missing.
SUBWAY® restaurants of Grand Rapids have partnered with area police to provide free Child Identification Kits to the community while supplies last.
The Child Identification Kits will be available in stores starting on December 2, 2013. Completed kits will include a child’s current photo, finger prints and other vital information that may aid law enforcement in finding a child should they go lost or missing.
SUBWAY® restaurant representatives as well as officers from the Michigan State Police will be on hand to provide children and their parents with important safe tips and to assist in filling out Child ID kits.
December 3, 2013 at 4:30 p.m at Steil Club (235 Straight Ave. NW GR 49504)
December 5, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. at Paul I. Phillips Club (726 Madison St. SE GR 49503)
December 5, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. at Seidman Club (139 Crofton St. GR 49507)
Media is invited to come to the events and will have the opportunity to interview students, teachers, police officers and representatives of SUBWAY® restaurants.
Give the Gift of a Great Future!
November 27th, 2013
This holiday Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids are proud to partner with The Bon-Ton Stores (Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers) and Club alum Mario Lopez as part of our 3rd Annual Give the Gift of a Great Future campaign.
Bon-Ton shoppers can purchase a teddy bear or make a donation at any Bon-Ton store and online. The adorable, plush teddy bears are dressed up in holiday scarves and retail for $7.00. Your purchase generates a minimum donation of $2.75 to Boys & Girls Clubs. Beginning November 29th and ending on December 24th, in-store and online, customers can donate $3.00 in exchange for a coupon or discount.
Boys & Girls Clubs across the country thank Bon-Ton for supporting the end-of-year campaign. Mario Lopez, Alumni Ambassador for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, says, “As a former Club kid, I know Clubs are safe places where children can grow, learn and develop. I hope you will join me and your local Bon-Ton store this holiday season by supporting Boys & Girls Clubs in your community and across the nation.”
Find Your Local West Michigan Store Below:
Younkers Grandville @Rivertown Crossings
3668 Rivertown Parkway
Grandville, MI 49418
Younkers Holland @Westshore Mall
12331 James Street
Holland, MI 49424
Younkers Muskegon @Lakes Mall
5580 Harvey Street
Muskegon, MI 49444
2nd Annual Winter Arts Showcase
November 25th, 2013
The BGC Performing Arts Program continues to offer our Club members a chance to express themselves and learn new skills. From guitar and piano, to chorus, dance and percussion classes, there are many ways for our youth to explore the arts and work together to create something special. We are currently working hard to prepare for the December concert.
On Thursday, December 19th, 6-7:30PM, we are proud to present the 2nd Annual Winter Arts Showcase. This is a FREE event. Club members ages 6-18 who participate in the Performing Arts Program will be on stage singing, playing guitar, piano, and percussion to ring in the holiday season! Come join us for a spectacular evening of entertainment and see what we’re all about at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids.
The lobby will also feature our Winter Art Show. Club members’ artwork will be shown highlighting different visual arts disciplines that are taught at our three Grand Rapids Clubs. Come see how our members express themselves and join in the fun!
Buy One! Give One!
November 20th, 2013
We are excited to announce that it has partnered with Worldplay™ Sport this holiday season. Every time you purchase a product from Worldplay, you can choose to donate a second product to us on a BUY-ONE, GIVE-ONE basis! Go to www.worldplaysport.com and make a difference this year!
BGC-GR Earns WGVU's Engage I HAVE Made a Difference Award
November 12th, 2013
On November 8th, WGVU hosted the WGVU Engage I HAVE Made a Difference Awards to recognize excellence in the local community, bringing accolades to those who share our commitment to offering everyone an opportunity to make a difference and Be More.
The event brought together a host of many non-profit organizations to be recognized for their great accomplishments in our West Michigan Community. WGVU Engage I HAVE Made a Difference Awards were awarded to one individual and one non-profit organization that best exemplifies outcomes in the five WGVU Engage areas of focus (Inclusion, Health, Arts, Veterans, and Education) and overall excellence in support of our community.
This year, the Education Award went to Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth.
“Thanks to WGVU for recognizing Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth as a leader in Education,” said Rick Huisman, BGC-GR Executive Director. “We are so proud to offer opportunities for success through Education in every child’s life who walks through our doors every day.”
Rick Huisman Finalist for YNPN.GR Leadership Award!
October 10th, 2013
Our Executive Director Rick Huisman has been nominated as a 5th Annual YNPN.GR Leadership Award Finalsit in the Exemplary Executive category. The Exemplary Executive Award will go to an exemplary young nonprofit executive director. This young non-profit executive director should show strong leadership and initiative in moving their organization forward. Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Grand Rapids members will be voting on the finalists until November 1. The winner will be announced at their Award Ceremony on November 7.
Click here to see more about the awards and finalists!
The Awards ceremony where the winners will be announced will be Thursday, November 7, 2013. See more information below.
Midwest/Southwest 2013 Joint Leadership Conference
October 9th, 2013
On October 1-4, our Executive Director Rick Huisman and Development Director Nicole Rodammer attended the Midwest/Southwest BGC 2013 Joint Leadership Conference in St. Louis, MO. This was the first time Boys & Girls Clubs of America had brought together two regions, so this was definitely a “first of a kind” event. Although it was really hard to focus with MLB playoffs happening right across the street, they had some really great opportunities to learn from outstanding speakers and other staff from around the nation.
The focus of this conference was to go deeper, by providing opportunities to discuss what we learned with members of a small group organized by national staff, Club leaders, and volunteers. This gave everyone an opportunity to share examples from their Clubs, strategies and policies they have in place, and learning experiences from everyone.
Some of the areas they focused on where:
- School-Club partnerships and how it takes a community to help a child in need and developing a program around them through school, Boys & Girls Clubs, and family can provide the structure they need to succeed.
- Building your Image, how to put a marketing strategy in place and use print, web and social media to drive traffic to your Club.
- Safety, making sure our kids are safe when they come to our club is our #1 priority. Talking with Special Agent Kathleen McChesney to hear about how to best protect our kids, while preserving our core values.
- Becoming a Vision Driven Organization, and how to take an organization to the next level by determining the best criteria for success.
These are just a sample of the speakers and topics that were focused-on at the conference. The conference did a great job of helping to apply learning and creating direct connections to our organizational and personal goals.
P-Arts: Heading Into Fall
October 2nd, 2013
We’re so excited for the expanded Performing Arts Program beginning this fall! We are adding additional beginning piano and guitar classes this year. A brand new class – DRUMS! – will also be offered. These classes will be taught at the Seidman Club which had become our Performing Arts Hub. Members from the Steil and Paul I. Phillips locations who want to participate will be transported to Seidman for their classes each week. This is all in addition to our weekly schedule of General Music, Chorus, Teen Music Time, Piano and Guitar classes.
Starting soon we will also be offering 6-8 week workshops in dance, acting, improvisation and other performing arts disciplines.
Personally, I am really enjoying picking up where we left off in the spring with my students! It has been so rewarding to teach the Club members. They are very special kids. I have seen so many kids come into their own as they explore music with me in the classroom. Music is such a valuable tool for connection, exploration and teamwork.
Summer programming was a lot of fun with our 4 separate Glee Weeks. All 3 Clubs and Camp O’Malley had a special week of programming. Kids learned improvisation and acting techniques. Together, we created a scene structure specific to each session and chose 3-4 songs that fit the narrative.
If there is anything you’d like me to discuss on this blog, feel free to sound off in the comments or use our Facebook and Twitter!
- Mr. Casey
Be GREAT Gala raises $101,235!
September 15th, 2013
We're celebrating 75 years of serving youth in West Michigan, and in honor of this milestone, we held our fourth annual fundraiser focused on the great achievements of the organization's history and supporters. The BE GREAT Gala was at Thousand Oaks Golf Club (4100 Thousand Oaks Drive, Grand Rapids) from 6-9 p.m. on September 9, 2013
“Seventy-five years investing in youth development says something pretty special about the community in which we live,” said Executive Director Rick Huisman. “The BE GREAT Gala was a night where we celebrated our history, and the $101,235 we were able to raise thanks to our generous supporters will help us invest even more into the future of the Clubs and Camp O’Malley.”
The BE GREAT Gala included the first annual BE GREAT Awards, exciting live auction, delicious food, and live music. Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids had more than 250 supporters as well as prominent citizens and businesses in the Greater Grand Rapids Area in attendance.
The BE GREAT Awards were presented to three recipients who have shown tremendous support of their mission. Peter Secchia received the Outstanding Leadership Award, the Grand Rapids Police Department received the Community Impact Award, and Amway received the Outstanding Business Award.
The night would have not been the same without the support of our numerous sponsors and a special matching gift from Candace & Bruce Matthews, with which we were able to raise $20,000 at the event to sponsor Club members and Campers.
And of course...
“Special thanks to our incredible staff and volunteers for their support in making the BE GREAT event one of the best events in our history. We could not have done it without you!” – Rick Huisman, Executive Director
BE GREAT Staff & Volunteers (in no particular order): Kate Arnold Botma, Kathy Gates, Lynn Kotecki, Becky Reed, Janet Knaus, Lisa Hunter, Bruce Matthews, Barb Hanley, Derek Mason, Kelly Hassberger, Madelon Hassberger, Nan Swanson, Peaches McCahill, Ted Bingham, Sara Schneider, Ray Townsend, Nancy Schondelmayer, Erin Crison, Kevin Little, Zak Knaus, Chris Wilson, Jamie Prawdzik, Casey Stratton, Amanda Alters, Mario Leon, Suzan Guben, Dan Myers, Michael Harris, Sierra Demski, Joel Petroelje, Ryan Huizenga.