Boys & Girls Clubs of Cascade County Holds Annual Christmas Carnival

Sending off the year and ringing in the holidays can take on many forms, and for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cascade County this time of year is marked by their annual Christmas Carnival! The yearly carnival, led by Unit Director Nichole Hutchinson, is held at the Great Falls Clubhouse and invited everyone in the community to participate! Over 100 Club members, their families, and community members showed up for the event.

Over 25 booths were present, and included Community partners’ informational booths for parents, which also hosted mini games for kids, in addition to carnival games and events run by club staff and community volunteers. In addition to the plethora of booths, other holiday events were also involved; including a bounce house, holiday arts & crafts, make your own root beer float, and holiday cookie decorating! All youth in attendance were also fed a spaghetti dinner, a nice warm meal for the winter season.

Everyone knows a Christmas party isn’t complete without Santa! So of course he made an appearance during his busy schedule, and took pictures with the youth and their families, as well as handing out holiday gift bags! Unit Director Nichole Hutchinson says that the event is always a great way to cap off the year and set a positive tone going into the New Year. Way to go Boys & Girls Club of Cascade County and their holiday traditions!


Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley Hosts Fundraising Concert for Clubs in Puerto Rico

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, Gila River Branch – Komatke recently turned their celebration concert into a fundraising opportunity for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR)! Since BGCPR was part of the devastation of Hurricane Maria, many organizations, including fellow Clubs such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, mobilized to help them get back to their full capacity!

On October 20, 2017 the Hip Hop Hundred Hundred was hosted at the Club. The concert was organized as a celebration of the 200th birthday for Baha’u’llah of the Baha’i faith. Youth development director Emiliano Morondos said, “The concert itself was a joyful occasion. We wanted to perform and hangout as a community while using the time spent to raise funds for a worthy cause.” The Club used hip hop as a way to honor Baha’u’llah, Native Lands and those who came before.

The staff of Komatke Boys & Girls Club organized the event as a celebration and involved the youth from both their Keystone Club and their Torch Leadership Club by having them emcee and work concessions. Andrew Kisto served as one of the opening acts for the hip hop concert. Kisto is a major part of the Torch Leadership Club at Komatke Boys & Girls Club as well as a Gila River tribal member. The night was followed with performances by Roses: Soul Siam, Shining Soul, Colby Jeffers, Jose Maria Fierro, Kishan the Educator, and Deeh Jai who are all hip hop artists based in the Phoenix area.


Boys & Girls Club in Indian Country is still growing!

Last week, Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County hosted a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony at the Nespelem Boys & Girls Club. The Nespelem unit launched with a soft opening in June, and since then the Club has had 231 youth registered. Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Tsoukalas thanked the Colville Business Council (CBC) for developing a relationship with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The Club is housed in the Nespelem Community Center, and has a computer lab, activity room, and an office. Since the soft opening it has already experienced great success, with an average daily attendance hovering around 60 youth during the summer and 20-30 afterschool. This location will be reaching an entire group of Native youth that had previously not been reached on the Colville Reservation, providing much needed programming to benefit the youth.

Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County and the whole community in Nespelem for starting this much needed program. It’s just one more community that will be enabling their youth to reach their potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.


Ohana Mo'olelo Night at Nanakuli

Open houses are a great way to expose a Club and interact with the community at large. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii knows how useful open houses are, and wanted to embrace these helpful events yet at the same time not neglect opportunities for current members. Club Director Claudia Fernandez decided to integrate club participation into open house style events by creating themed Family Nights! Claudia and her staff plan these nights four times a year, and are marked by different themes such as the most recent Ohana Mo'olelo Night that was held at the Nanakuli Clubhouse.

This is one of the few Family Nights to be culturally themed, which Claudia says comes at a time that is more necessary than ever for youth to know who they are and their cultural roots. Activities at the event included a cultural story time, where Club staff retold tales of Hawaiian demigods such as Maui and the history of the island nation, as well as arts & crafts of traditional Native styling. Only one thing could make the night better….food! Luckily, the night also entailed a potluck dinner where families of Club members brought dishes to reflect their heritage. Club community partners such as the University of Hawaii participated as well, surveying parents about the programs and events of the Club to provide constructive feedback to Club staff.


Twin Cities Youth Paint Mural on the Greenway

This summer, youth at the Little Earth Extension of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota had the exciting opportunity to assist local artists with a large-scale mural on the Greenway, a large bike trail in Minneapolis. It all started when the Midtown Greenway contacted the Little Earth Education Department to express interest in getting several teens in the community to help work on a mural they were planning for the trail. From there, the organization partnered with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) to work with students and create internships for teens. Collaboration with Little Earth began nearly a year ago, and they began (and completed) the mural in August 2017. Youth from the Little Earth extension unit participated and assisted during a planned community day, and worked with the interns and artists on various sections of the mural.

Located just a few blocks away from Little Earth housing, the mural depicts the three interns that were a part of this project. It also includes an image of a Native woman carrying other people, symbolic of the weight women carry throughout life, as well as how women pass on heritage and culture. In addition, each young girl is holding an object sacred to the Little Earth community. These items include a tobacco pouch, sage, and corn. Other images represent tribal stories and animals considered sacred to the culture.

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