For the first time since the Kenai Peninsula chartered it's first Boys & Girls Club some 14 years ago, the national President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America has come to visit. Last week Roxanne Spillett, President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America was visiting clubs throughout Alaska.
Many attribute the recent growth of the Boys & Girls Clubs on the Kenai Peninsula to the leadership of Spillett and the money provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In the past four years, local clubs have been the beneficiaries of more than $1.1 million dollars from the national office in Atlanta, Georgia.
The funds have gone toward starting new clubs in Seldovia, Homer, Soldotna, Nikiski, and Seward, as well as expanding existing programs at the Club House in Kenai. The local clubs expect to receive another $400,000 this year to help reach even more children. "We've been chartering a new club every weekday somewhere in the country. In 1998 we celebrated our 2000th Boys & Girls Club, in the year 2001 we celebrated our 3000th Boys & Girls Club, so we've had explosive growth all across the country, and especially here in Alaska," said Spillett, visiting the After the Bell program at Soldotna Elementary School. "I'm spending a week here in Alaska to learn about our new clubs, to meet people who have been on the ground and to thank them for all that they have done to invest in our children, to reach more children, and what's happened here on the Kenai Peninsula is truly fabulous. You have a great staff, and a great board, and a really caring, committed community that says we love our children, we care about our children and we will not let them fail. I think that's just fabulous," added Spillett.
According to Spillett the collective budgets for all the clubs across the country comes to more than a billion dollars for the 3,000 Boys & Girls Clubs. The funding streams however, are all different. "Much of our financial support comes from individuals right in the community that feel the need as private citizens to support the children. Many clubs also receive support from United Way. We raise a great deal of funding from the federal government and pass it through to our local clubs to help stimulate growth, but the clubs will be sustained and supported by the communities and the people who care about their children," said Spillett.
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