Thank you for taking time to browse our annual report. We hope it gives you a glimpse into the important work that happens every day within the walls of the four Centers of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley. As you see the pictures, look at the numbers and read the stories, I hope you also feel this. I hope you’ll feel the joy of being in a safe place, the optimism that comes from seeing something new, the confidence that comes from accomplishment that you didn’t think was possible, the warmth of a good meal shared together, the love that grows out of special relationships. Because that’s what our members experience, thanks to you. As you turn these pages, I hope you will feel the satisfaction of being a partner in this work. Through your investment of time, finances, donations, and most importantly your heart.
Lee & Mary Markquart center: Featuring Uwec Athletics
Each Thursday at the Lee & Mary Markquart Center you’ll hear a new set of voices and sounds: laughter, encouragement and more. The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Athletic Department teams are there aiding our staff through a great collaboration of teams and kids. It’s a win for both; our members have great role models to look up to, and the UW Eau Claire teams learn skills like patience, problem solving, and multitasking.
One athlete said, “I have learned that the Boys & Girls Club puts an emphasis on good behavior, learning and creating good habits. The kids at the Boys & Girls club are always so welcoming and well behaved. We love going to volunteer because we know the staff and kids are great.” Another said, “It is important for our organization to give back to the community, and it gives the athletes a chance to be positive role models for the kids at the Club.
Volunteering at the club provides a time for athletes to have fun, while building meaningful and mentoring relationships with the members. “Our favorite part, hands down, is just hanging out with the kids. Whether we play games or have a conversation, it’s always enjoyable. We do everything from helping with homework to eating dinner with the kids. If we couldn’t talk to them beforehand, we get the chance to during dinner. Plus, a free meal is a huge perk to a college student!”
Thank you to all the athletes at UWEC for the positive role you play in the lives of our community youth!
Chippewa falls Center: 2019 Chippewa Falls Youth of the Year
Ginger was 13 years old when she started coming to the Boys & Girls Club. She had experienced more life-altering changes than most children ever have and that any child ever should. Ginger was removed from her home due to substance abuse issues and placed in a foster home. Through the course of only a couple of years, Ginger was placed in eight different foster homes. Can you imagine how that might change a child’s behavior, mental health, actions, and outlook on life? When Ginger was first placed in foster care, they recommended the Club and soon enrolled Ginger as a teen member at the Club.
“The Boys & Girls Club in Chippewa Falls has helped me in many ways and has shown me what I am capable of. It has given me the space to connect with others and create important relationships growing up. I always love being involved with programs and interacting with the other teens. Because of the Club I get to interact with many different kids, and I enjoy teaching the younger members new things.”
Ginger made leaps and bounds at the Club and has overcome issues of her own substance abuse, depression, and more. She worked hard, formed relationships, and even became the Chippewa Falls Youth of the Year in 2019.
“One of the best parts about the Club is everything it has taught me along the way. Brent, a previous staff at the Club has always gone above and beyond to help me. He has inspired me to not only help others when they need it most, but to pursue my dream of a career in education. Brent made me feel like I can accomplish my goals and overcome the obstacles that stand in my way. Others in my life have always doubted me, but not him, he challenges me to be my best!”
Despite the many challenges Ginger faced, she flourished. Her will to succeed, along with support of the people who make the Boys & Girls Club possible, helped Ginger transform her life.
“Because of the Club, I know I can be a great leader, and what it takes to become a great leader. They showed me there is more to life and have challenged me to be the best I can be.”
Ginger’s dream is to go to college after high-school to become a machine tool instructor. Thank you for your support of the Club, as you truly make it possible for our members to make their dreams become realities. While Ginger, like many teens today, continues to face many challenges on her road to success, but we are hopeful that her connection to the Club, and support system surrounding her, that she will continue to flourish and chase her dreams.
Lunda Center: Rochelle, Lunda Center Alum & Current Staff member
Twelve years ago, Rochelle walked through the doors of the Boys & Girls Club and little did she know that taking those steps would change her life forever. Many of you may remember Rochelle’s story as she was our 2018 Youth of the Year for the Greater Chippewa Valley. Rochelle has since graduated high school and has joined our team as a Behavior Specialist at the Lunda Center in Black River Falls. While working at the Club, Rochelle is also taking Emergency Medical Responder courses through CVTC and is part of the Hixton Area Volunteer First Responders and will soon be taking her State Certification, which was a dream of hers.
Rochelle shared with us that the Club helped her figure out who she was as a person, discover her strengths, and allowed her to just be herself! When Rochelle first joined the Club, she was struggling with depression, bullying, and recovering from the trauma of being abducted. Looking back, Rochelle credits the Boys & Girls Club for a large part of her healing, success and reason for happiness today. It is her hope that she can now make an impact on kids’ life, just as the Club had done for her growing up.
“I want to be able to impact the youth and give them the same support and care that the Club gave to me when I was a member. I am working at the Club to continue to find myself and develop my leadership skills and abilities while building relationships with the youth that I work with. The Club gave me the chance to step out of my comfort zone and build confidence within myself.”
The Club was Rochelle’s safe haven during a very rough time in her life. It was the one place where she could be herself and feel supported.
“No matter how big or small every situation is, the experiences members get at the Club stays with them for a lifetime. Even the smallest impact makes a big difference.”
Rochelle is proof of the impact that the Club can have on one person. She now spends her time not only as a staff member but as a mentor and support system to many kids in our community. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Rochelle chose the Club to come back and start her career! Thank you, Rochelle, for making a difference in kids’ lives each and every day.
Menomonie Center: Kathy, Member Parent
We know it takes a village to raise a family, and for this Mom, the Boys & Girls Club is part of her village. While raising kids of her own, Kathy opened her home to foster children so that she could give them a chance at a great future. Kathy started sending her kids to the Club for a variety of different reasons including: behavior challenges, relationship building, homework help, new experiences, and endless opportunity.
“The Club has allowed our family to establish a better daily routine. As parents and foster parents, we have a wide age span amongst our children so the Club has given them opportunities that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. We enjoy knowing our boys are doing all kinds of fine and gross motor skill activities.”
The Boys & Girls Club makes it a priority to have a great relationship and open communication with all families of our Club kids. This allows the Club to give the optimal experience for all members, giving them the necessary tools, experiences and opportunities to succeed and become the next leaders of our community. Since coming to the Club, both the family and staff have seen exponential changes in the members’ behavior, acceptance, and being open to new experiences. It is through the partnership of family, Club staff, and community support that this is possible.
“The community should know that Boys & Girls Club works with all families and the youth are becoming more well-rounded because of the club.”
Thank you to Kathy, and all of the Club families that put your trust in the Club to do Whatever It Takes to build great futures in every child that walks through our doors. It doesn’t just take one person. It takes a community and we want to thank YOU for the support and allowing us to continue reaching more youth each year.