Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue Celebrates 70 Years of Championing Youths
In a city like Bellevue where growth is exponential, so is the need for everyday life assistance for thousands of families. Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue (BGCB) has been an excellent local resource for those in need since 1952, marking this year their 70th anniversary of empowering children and teens ages 2–18. Annually, the organization serves over 13,000 Bellevue-based youths with 15 clubs strategically placed throughout the community and 500 learning and social programs. CEO Tim Motts explained that BGCB has become a vital lifeline for the community, ensuring Eastside youth have equal access to life-enhancing programming focused on academics, health and leadership.
“Our community’s greatest asset is our young people,” Motts said. “The BGCB is a place where caring adults can give them a space to learn, grow and be their individual selves.”
The sudden force of school closures during the pandemic escalated the need for a space where families could navigate the new challenges that surfaced. Motts said the BGCB is committed to filling the gaps in accessible youth care, food scarcity and academic support.
“Youth development work will never be the same,” Motts said. “What the pandemic has done was shine a light on the struggles that young people are dealing with, and the main part of it is mental health.”
During the pandemic, the BGCB staff took on many new responsibilities to better connect with students, including teaching, counseling, entertaining, and aiding mental health.
From March to December 2020, Motts and his team shifted to primarily serving low-income and vulnerable families. Achievements during this time include serving 62,278 meals to combat food insecurity, awarding over $600,000 in scholarships, and implementing remote learning centers.
“We can talk about the fancy programs and cool curriculum, but if we don’t meet young people where they are first, then none of it will work,” he said. “Moving forward, we’ll have our great sports program, but we’ll also have mental health counselors on site.”
To celebrate their 70th anniversary and raise funds for the future, BGCB is hosting a Champions of Youth Gala on April 23 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, their first in-person auction in two years. According to Motts, it will be an inspiring evening with a festive reception, dinner, inspiring stories, entertainment and a chance to bid on items. They hope to raise over $600,000 to go towards serving those who need them most today and for the next 70 years.
“We’re excited to celebrate our heroic staff members, key partners, and most importantly, celebrate our youths who continue to overcome different barriers,” Motts said. “I’m proud to see what our young people have done and the BGCB is thrilled to continue the work of supporting them in the Bellevue community.”
To learn more about the Champions of Youth Gala and how you can support, visit their website for details.
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