Boys & Girls Clubs reopen with small groups of kids

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | June 9, 2020

BELOIT — It might not be the typical summer, but those at the Stateline Boys & Girls Club are hoping it might be the best summer.

Thanks to new programming, extra cleaning and lots of time in the sunshine and great outdoors, club kids are learning and socializing safely as their parents return to work, according to Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand and Director of Community Programs Caris Haley.

The Stateline Boys & Girls Club in South Beloit reopened on June 1 with the Beloit Club reopening on June 8. Both sites reopened for a total of 27 members, or three groups of nine members each. It’s hoped in time the sites can slowly increase their numbers depending on safety guidelines.

“In Beloit we have a waiting list of about 10 kids. We are trying to keep it to nine kids to one adult,” Rand said.

As a celebration for reopening in South Beloit, each group of kids visited Dari Ripple and received pizza from Domino’s Pizza. Plans for a Beloit celebration are underway.

The Beloit Club has brought on a Welty Environmental Center intern to do more outdoor activities.

“It’s really fun here. We get to play, do art and gym,” said Priscilla Lopez, 8.

Andrya Delatorre, 7, said she likes art and recently made a rain gauge and an airplane.

To prepare for the opening, Evelyn Garcia-Martinez, a staff person at South Beloit, along with other generous donors made masks. The masks are required to be worn by both kids and staff at the Illinois facility, and are available for those who want to wear them in Beloit. Currently, staff in Beloit are required to wear the masks while it’s optional for kids.

Club staff are following guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and the Rock County Health Department. Staff trained and planned the previous week for a rigorous cleaning schedule as well as programming that would be fun yet would practice social distancing. The groups of nine have been on nature walks, riding on scooter boards in the gym or playing kickball which doesn’t require touch. South Beloit had a little dance individual competition.

“As much as possible we go outside, we take nature walks. We do anything to get kids moving and get them fresh air,” Haley said.

Haley said the kids are learning the new routine and about keeping a distance from other children while playing.

Rand said many families are appreciative as the Club can offer academic programming to bolster kids’ virtual learning this spring quarter as well as socialization opportunities after many children were isolated.

During COVID-19, the Beloit and South Beloit clubs stayed busy helping those in need. Before reopening, the clubs offered free dinners for children ages 6-18 on weekdays at both sites and gave away just shy of 2,000 total meals to children, or about 300-350 per week.

Despite COVID-19, the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs’ capital campaign to build a new $5 million facility in Beloit and renovate its existing South Beloit facility remains underway.

“We hold steadfast to a new facility in 2020-2021,” Rand said.

The Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs has plans to build a new Beloit facility along the Fourth Street corridor and to renovate its South Beloit site at 1161 Dorr Road. The current Beloit building is on the far West Side of the city at 1851 Moore St. The focus will be for the new facility to be more centrally located along the Fourth Street corridor nearer community partners, in particular the Beloit Memorial High School’s student population.

Boys & Girls Clubs plan June opening, continue capital campaign

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | May 14, 2020

BELOIT — The Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs have plans to reopen in June, hoping to provide children a safe, educational and fun place to go as their families return to work.

“Safety is our number one priority. We have developed and vetted a reopening plan with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Department of Children and Family Services, local law enforcement, our insurance carrier and Beloit Health System’s Infection Control Team that our board of directors will vote on May 20. The goal and focus is to re-open our doors in June. Once our board has voted on official dates, we will communicate those dates to all,” said Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand.

During COVID-19, the Beloit and South Beloit clubs have been busy finding ways to help those in need. The clubs offer free dinners for children ages 6-18 on weekdays from 4:30—6 p.m. at both sites. The clubs also worked with partners at Community Action, Merrill Community Center and the Stateline Family YMCA to pack up activity and snack bags to be given to kids at School District of Beloit lunch sites

During COVID-19, the clubs have given away just shy of 2,000 total meals to children, or about 300 to 350 per week, Rand said.

Beloit Boys & Girls Club staff member Jerry Harris, who was passing out sacked dinners on Thursday, said it was a blessing to give to those who need food. Staff member Ashley Chisholm said it was a great way to help out the community as well as see the kids again.

Despite COVID-19, the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs’ capital campaign to build a new $5 million facility in Beloit and renovate its existing South Beloit facility remains underway.

“We remain flexible with our timeline, and hold steadfast to our new facility opening sometime in late 2021,” said Capital Campaign Chair Jim Packard Jr.

The Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs has plans to build a new Beloit facility along the Fourth Street corridor and to renovate its South Beloit site at 1161 Dorr Road. The current Beloit building is on the far west side of town at 1851 Moore St. The focus will be for the new facility to be more centrally located along the Fourth Street corridor nearer community partners, in particular the Beloit Memorial High School’s student population.

Packard said the solicitation phase of the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs’ Capital Campaign titled “Building a Better Future for our Community” has been temporarily paused for a bit. In light of COVID-19, Packard said organizers decided it was best to hold off on making monetary requests while still moving ahead with planning. The campaign committee meets monthly to work on brochures, newsletters, press releases and pledge cards.

“This campaign, which leads to a variety of positive changes for our organization and community, is very much still viewed as necessary,” Packard said. “We know it is going to take the commitment and the support of our entire community in order for Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs to continue its long history of serving the community and meeting these and other perceived challenges.”

For more information people can visit https://statelinebgc.org/capital-campaign.

Y, Community Action and Boys & Girls Club pack up activity bags

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | Mar 31, 2020

BELOIT—Children at Hackett and Merrill elementary schools will be getting activity bags stuffed with snacks, juice, books and fun thanks to some quick work by the Stateline Family YMCA, Stateline Boys & Girls Club, Community Action and the School District of Beloit.

Volunteers from the agencies lined up books donated by the Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative, Gatorade, chips and cookies from Frito-Lay and coupons from Culver’s before stuffing the bags on Monday at Community Action’s training center.

The Stateline Family YMCA, Stateline Boys & Girls Club, Community Action had purchased puzzles, word searches and other games for inclusion in the packs in addition to the ample snacks.

“We want to say hello, boost morale and let kids and families know we’re here for them,” Interim Deputy Director for Community Action Inc. Marc Perry said.

“A little treat here and there helps break up some of what they’re facing,” President and CEO of Stateline Family YMCA Ann Hankins said. “It allows us to create a bit of a bright light for kids at home who are facing some of the same anxieties as adults.”

The 200 activity bags will be distributed along with the school district’s lunches at the school sites. The bags will be handed out at Hackett next week and at Merrill the week of April 13.

During the flurry of packing on Monday, Perry commended Hankins and Stateline Boys and Girls Club Chief Executive Officer Mark Rand for diving in to make the project happen.

“Mark and Ann were awesome to work with,” he said.

Perry explained that Rand called him with the idea a week ago, and everyone was able to quickly secure donations and make the project a reality.

“We are doing what we can to serve the kids we serve and trying to keep them as engaged as possible while they are home from school and the club,” Rand said.

Rand said Boys and Girls Clubs around the country are doing similar activities. He added the Stateline Boys and Girls Club is offering virtual programming, online activities available on the club’s website and Facebook page for their approximately 1,900 youth members during the COVID-19 quarantine. He also hopes to offer curbside dinner pickup for families in April.

During the event packers were proudly donning “We are all in this together” T-shirts made by Walnut Creek Awards and Promotions, 406 E Grand Ave., to show support for local businesses.

“We are wearing the shirts, and we will give them a shout out as they are a supporter of our organizations,” Rand said.

Hankins says she is thankful for the YMCA members who have kept their memberships during the quarantine.

That has helped allow the YMCA to offer emergency child care for children of health care workers and other essential employees. Community Action is offering a similar service at its center in Janesville.

Packard to lead Club campaign

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | Feb 28, 2020

BELOIT—The Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs Board announced recently Jim Packard Jr. has accepted the position to serve as chair for the proposed capital campaign effort.

Packard recently retired from Regal Beloit Corp. after over 35 years of service. As a nearly lifelong resident of the Stateline area, Packard has history with the club as a member, coach, board member and supporter. He has served as a volunteer and board member for many non-profit organizations in the Stateline area, including United Way, Stateline Family YMCA and the Downtown Beloit Association.

Packard said he agreed to serve as capital campaign chair because Beloit is a great community and because he believes in the Boys & Girls Clubs and what it does for young people.

“These are critically important times for Beloit. Achieving the campaign’s objectives will make Beloit a better place to live and work for all,” he said.

The Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs has proposed plans to build a new Beloit facility along the Fourth Street corridor and to renovate its South Beloit site at 1161 Dorr Road. The organization has retained Snell & Associates Consultants as counsel for the proposed 2020 Capital Campaign to help raise $5 million for the project. Ideally, the new facility would be ready for youth by the summer of 2021.

“We recognize that this is an ambitious goal,” said Packard. “The good news is, as we move forward, we do so with confidence in the history of the Beloit community in being well known for supporting programs and efforts for its young people. The Boys & Girls Clubs has been providing quality staffing and programming here in the Beloit area for over 60 years and my family and I have benefited from and been a part of that rich history.”

Visit the Beloit Daily News website for the full article.

Boys & Girls Clubs to Expand

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | Jan 17, 2020

BELOIT — The Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs, Inc. has plans to build a new Beloit facility along the Fourth Street corridor and to renovate its South Beloit site at 1161 Dorr Road, Clubs CEO Mark Rand said.

The organization has retained Snell & Associates Consultants as counsel for the 2020 Capital Campaign to help raise the necessary $5 million for the project. Ideally, the new facility would be ready for youth by the summer of 2021. Rand stressed the project is still in the planning stages, with more details to come.

“Snell & Associates Consultants has been guiding and working successfully nationally with organizations, especially Boys & Girls Clubs, with their capital campaign efforts since 1995. The facts they historically exceed established fundraising goals and are familiar with the Greater Beloit community were big determinants for our board,” Rand said.

Having a new Beloit facility along Fourth Street will offer families a more centralized location. The current Beloit building is on the far west side of town at 1851 Moore St.

“The focus will be for the new facility to be more centrally located along the Fourth Street corridor nearer community partners, in particular Beloit Memorial High School’s student population,” Rand said.

The Stateline Boys & Girls Club has a total membership of close to 2,000 registered members between its Beloit and South Beloit facilities and school-based sites. Rand said 88% of members live below the poverty line, and 44% of its youth come from single parent homes.

“The youth of the Stateline Area face many challenges that our Boys & Girls Clubs help them navigate,” Rand said.

With after-school being a time when young people can potentially get into trouble, Rand said, educational services for them during this time period is critical. Being closer to the high school will also provide more programming opportunities for teens.

“By raising the $5 million needed for the project the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs will significantly increase the number of youth who can and will be able to access our services,” Rand said.

The Stateline Boys & Girls Club was founded in 1955, with its Beloit building constructed in 1960.

The mission of the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs is to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The vision is to get members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future and to demonstrate good character and citizenship while living a healthy lifestyle.

Visit the Beloit Daily News website for the full article.