2017 Youth of the Year
March 3rd, 2017
Congratulations to our 2017 Youth of the Year winner, Zsana Hoskins! Zsana was announced as the Grand Rapids Youth of the Year at a VIP reception on March 1 at The Waldron Pub. She was then formally announced at our Youth of the Year luncheon to over 350 guests on March 2.
She will go on to represent Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids at the State Youth of the Year competition on March 31, 2017.
Community Policing Effort
January 11th, 2017
Grand Rapids chief links drop in street crimes to $2.5M community policing effort
We're so grateful for our partnership with the Grand Rapids Police Department and their commitment to the kids and families in all of the greater Grand Rapids' community. Whether it's the Officers we have stationed at each of our locations or Chief Rahinsky's dedication to positive relationship building--we are lucky to have GRPD!
Meet our New Administrative Manager
November 1st, 2016
We're excited to welcome Shelly LeMahieu Dunn to our BGC Team as the Administrative Manager. Let's learn a bit more about her...
What is your background/what did you do before BGC?
Just prior to coming to BGC, I served as the volunteer manager for a local non-profit. Before that, I worked for a decade as the administrative director for a national conference. I have also worked as a college writing instructor, grant writer, publications manager, international student advisor, program administrator, and small business owner. Although these roles are quite varied, two threads connect them: a passion for effective communication and an interest in—or, more accurately, an obsession with—details, processes, and organization.
Why are you excited to take on this role?
I’m excited about joining the team here at BGC and being a part of its mission to empower kids to reach their full potential. I am eager to do what I can to help the office run smoothly so that everyone at BGC can focus their time and energy on serving the great kids we work with every day.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working at BGC, you can usually find me working (or relaxing!) on the organic produce farm that my husband and I own in Coopersville. Whether I am answering farm e-mails, updating spreadsheets, feeding the chickens, picking beans, weeding the carrots, or eating dinner on the farmhouse porch, the farm keeps me happily busy during the growing season. In the off-season, my husband and I spend most of our free time renovating our 1905 farmhouse, going thrift store shopping, cooking, and dreaming of next season on the farm.
Meet our NEW Volunteer & Special Events Manager!
July 25th, 2016
We're excited to add Nika Kusmierz, our new Volunteer & Special Events Manager, to the BGC Grand Rapids team! We thought we'd get to know her a little better...
What is your background/what did you do before BGC?
I graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Sociology in 2014. Upon graduation, I was the Program Coordinator for Kent County Girls on the Run, a local chapter of a National organization that empowers girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident while creatively integrating running. My passion lies in working with nonprofits, and I am happy to be working with Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids.
Why are you excited to take on this role?
While I was in college, I worked at Seidman Club and Camp O’Malley as an Art Instructor and Camp Counselor. It is so great to be back at the Clubs in another capacity organizing volunteers and managing special events, which are so crucial to the success of the Clubs.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy reading, cooking, and spending time with my loved ones. I also am very active with community inclusion events throughout the city, a member of BL2END, and on the Board of Young Nonprofit Professional Leaders of Grand Rapids.
Rising Stars Recap
June 10th, 2016
On May 26th, Club members from all three Club locations gathered at Steil Club to celebrate our 4th annual Rising Stars ceremony. This event recognizes and uplifts our 5th graders transitioning into middle school, 8th graders transitioning to high school, and our graduating seniors.
The evening began with a spectacular spread of food prepared by our fantastic Club and Camp kitchen staff, Bob Gumbert and Linda Reed. Our 2015 and 2016 Youths of the Year Chelsea Flemings and Ana Sosa took the stage as our Emcees and set the joyful tone for the evening from their first words. Members and their families enjoyed a keynote speech by Chana Edmonds-Verley from the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation in which she stressed the importance of believing in yourself and reaching for your dreams.
Certificates were presented to all our Rising Stars as their names were called from the podium by our Club Directors. Program Awards were announced and presented to high-performing members from each area of the Clubs including the games rooms, gyms, art rooms, performing arts and teen spaces.
We also announced and celebrated our Volunteer of the Year, Beth Wierenga, and Volunteer Group of the Year, Sherwin Williams.
We couldn’t have had a better time championing our transitioning members as the school year came to a close! And a huge thank you goes out to MassMutual of Mid-Michigan who sponsored the event!
"We appreciate the opportunity to partner with a program that makes such a significant impact on the families and communities it serves," said Mark A. Keating CLU, CLTC
President/CEO of MassMutual of Mid-Michigan. "The Rising Stars Ceremony is reflective of the values we share in recognizing the achievements for these extraordinary students as they transition into the next stage of their journey."
Graduate for Mas
May 27th, 2016
TACO BELL® FOUNDATION AND BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF GRAND RAPIDS TEAM UP TO HELP MORE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLERS GRADUATE
Today, we will host an event in honor of the local high schoolers who graduated in the Class of 2016. The 90's throwback celebration, which will be hosted 6-9PM at our Seidman Club, was made possible with help from the Taco Bell® Foundation and donations from our local Taco Bell.
Graduate for Más is a program dedicated to igniting teens' full potential, starting with high school graduation. The Taco Bell Foundation and Get Schooled developed the program so thousands of teens are empowered to follow their path to reach their personal, educational, and career goals. Teens that participate in the Graduate for Más platform receive access to resources, mentorship support, prizes, and cool rewards like educational scholarships.
“Graduation season is our favorite time of year. We’ve watched the young men and women in our community work so hard to get to this point and it’s a thrill to share in their joy of earning that diploma,” said Rick Huisman, Executive Director. “We appreciate the Taco Bell® Foundation for recognizing and celebrating our new grads and committing to our future ones through the Foundation’s long-term support right here in Grand Rapids, MI.”
The grant to our Clubs is part of a partnership between the Taco Bell® Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America that is expected to raise $30 million to support more young people through high school graduation and beyond.
“At Taco Bell, you could say that America’s young people are at the heart and soul of our brand. They are our customers, our employees and our next generation of leaders,” said Frank Tucker Chief People Officer at Taco Bell and President for the Taco Bell Foundation. “We believe it is our responsibility to invest in these future leaders and help them succeed. Our partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America is an extension of our commitment to ensure youth are empowered to graduate from high school and go onto achieve their dreams.”
About Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant. Taco Bell serves made to order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties such as the exclusive Doritos® Locos Tacos, gourmet-inspired Cantina Power Menu™, lower calorie Fresco options and is the first QSR restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA)-certified menu items. Taco Bell Breakfast offers portable, classic items such as the Breakfast Crunchwrap® and signature burritos. The company encourages customers to “Live Más,” both through its food and in ways such as its Feed The Beat® music program and its nonprofit organization, the Taco Bell® Foundation™. Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations have more than 6,500 restaurants across the United States that proudly serve more than 42 million customers every week.
About Taco Bell Foundation
Taco Bell Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit 501(c) (3) public benefit corporation with the founded focus of investing in the potential of America’s youth through education and helping them realize their dreams. Since 1992, the Foundation has reached more than 5 million young people across 600 youth-serving organizations and about 1,700 high schools in the U.S. through partnerships and programs like GraduateforMas.com, and has awarded more than $75 million in scholarships and grants focused on education and career readiness. In 2016, Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation launched the Live Más Scholarship, a program aimed at empowering the nation’s next generation of dreamers, innovators and creators – those whose passions don’t fall into the conventional “academic” or “athletic” qualifying categories of traditional scholarship programs. For more information visit
Oh the places we will go
May 18th, 2016
May 19th was the official start of this year’s summer Field Trip Program. The first stop in the exciting line up was a trip to DeVos Performance Hall, where 24 teen members listened to the "music of the night" as they watched a performance of the Phantom of the Opera.
Other trips this summer include the Sloan Longway Planetarium in Flint, the Air Zoo in Battle Creek, the Henry Ford Museum, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, and special teen overnight trips to Pictured Rocks in the Upper Peninsula. See below for full schedule.
We would like to thank the NSF Foundation for their continued support of this instrumental program. Because of their generous support for the past twelve years, thousands of Club members have been able to attend once in a lifetime experiences that have ranged from conducting actual research on a NOAA research facility boat, countless trips to the theater, picking cherries in Traverse City, and much more. We are truly grateful to be able to provide our members with these amazing opportunities.
Stay tuned for updates as we chronicle our adventures this summer!
Upcoming Field Trips:
Wednesday, June 22: 8 am – 5:30 pm: Sloan Longway Planetarium, Flint, MI
Tuesday, June 28th 8 am-5:30 pm: Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, MI
Wednesday, July 6th 8 am-5:30 pm: Henry Ford Museum, Detroit, MI
Tuesday, July 12th 8 am-5:30 pm: Grand Haven Sand Dunes & Ice Cream
*Monday, August 15th-Wednesday, August 17th: Pictured Rocks Camping Trip
May's Youth of the Month!
May 17th, 2016
Our Youth of the Month (YOM) program spotlights a Club member who truly represents the mission of our Clubs. Staff will decide on a YOM based on their involvement in different activities and behavior. It is a program that helps to build our participation in the national Youth of the Year program.
Congratulations to MAY's Youth of the Month Winners:
Paul I. Phillips Club: Jalen
Why Staff Selected Jalen: Jalen participates in all of our programs and field trips. He is a leader, a helper, and a role model to younger students.
Seidman Club: Kamuri
Why Staff Selected Kamuri: Kamuri has proven to be a leader in the Club and has a bright future. We are so happy to name him Youth of the Month!
Steil Club: Aiden
Why Staff Selected Aiden: Aiden is a great example to his friends and brother. Aiden is kind and compassionate. When he gets irritated, Aiden has learned to turn things around instead of losing his temper.
Comcast Cares Day
May 2nd, 2016
On April 30th, our local Comcast branch celebrated Comcast Cares Day at our Steil Club. We had about 80 volunteers that helped clean-up our garden and other outdoor areas, cleaned and organized all of our programming areas, built first aid kits, decorated cards, and more.
Comcast Cares Day is a celebration of the company’s year-round commitment to service, and has grown to become the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer event. In 2015, more than 100,000 volunteers improved more than 900 parks, schools, beaches, senior centers and other vital community sites. Since 2001, more than 700,000 Comcast NBCUniversal employees, their friends, family members and our community partners have volunteered more than 4 million service hours at nearly 6,800 projects in communities across the United States and around the world.
“Comcast Cares Day is truly an amazing day. We are honored to have several of these volunteers right here in our Grand Rapids community, helping at our Steil Boys & Girls Club," said Volunteer & Special Event Manager Elyse Mathos. "We had such a fun day with Comcast employees, their families, Club members, and community members while helping to prepare our garden for planting, beautify our facility, and much more. Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers who helped make this day such a success!”
For information on how you or your company can volunteer at our Clubs and/or Camp O'Malley, please contact us.
Buffalo Wild Wings Community Day 2016
April 25th, 2016
Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) supports Boys & Girls Clubs in communities around the country. This year, Buffalo Wild Wings is donating as much as $40,000 in Team Up for Kids and ALL STARS grants to help more than 210 Clubs make significant improvements in their sports programs and facilities. These Clubs will be empowered to attract and serve even more members with fun and valuable sports experiences.
On April 13th, BWW hosted their Community Day at more than 750 restaurants and donated 10% of their total sales to local Boys & Girls Clubs. It was a great way for their Guests to join their efforts in making a positive impact in our communities, and BWW gave over $540,000 to Clubs across the country.
“Buffalo Wild Wings strives on being involved in the communities we are a part of," said Alyssa Groth, BWW Manager of Marketing. "We feel there is a champion in every child and each should be given the same opportunity to participate in Team sports.”
The local Grand Rapids BWW Community Day raised $4,567.93 for our Clubs. We are so grateful to have such amazing partnerships within our Grand Rapids community!