Tim Motts grew up in California as the oldest of five children. Growing up, he took on the responsibilities of supporting his siblings which led him to a life of helping young people across Bellevue.
Motts has spent over 20 years of his life working in nonprofits, starting with a career at the YMCA of Orange County after high school. Although he enjoyed working with older kids, Motts said he missed the bonding connection with younger children. In 2006 he left his YMCA job and became CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of West San Gabriel Valley. After five years, he transferred to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii and served as President and CEO until 2019.
Washington was never part of Motts’ plan until he started seeking special needs programs for his youngest son. Looking for answers, he found profound recommendations for the inclusive environment and support services offered in the Pacific Northwest. Months later, Motts moved to Bellevue and became President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue.
Read on to hear why Motts believes youth are the greatest asset for communities, what a safe place for kids and teens looks like, and why he loves working in Downtown Bellevue.
What do Boys & Girls Clubs provide for a community?
When it comes down to it, a Boys & Girls Club is a lifeline for our kids and families. It allows them to build relationships and connections they usually don’t have. Playing sports is super important, but the secret sauce is the relationships built between club members and staff. So many of our club kids say the club is like their second home or a home away from home because it’s a place for them to feel safe, find help with homework, get a good meal and more.
How does our community benefit from resources like Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue?
It may sound like a cliché, but our kids are our future. You have a significant problem if you don’t have a strong relationship between the adults leading the community and the kids who will be leaders someday. It’s vital to have a place where they can go, and that’s where Bellevue is fortunate because we have 15 club sites across Bellevue with thousands of kids ages 3-19 who come looking for resources.
How have you seen the clubs of Bellevue change over time?
We just celebrated 70 years of service in Bellevue, and traditionally, we were more of an after school athletic program and provider for a few hours a day. Now, especially during the pandemic, the number of resources offered has grown significantly. We’ve seen that our clubs have become a safe haven in many ways. We provide parents with critical childcare, support kids with online schooling, and feed them a good meal every day. Kids have started viewing the club as a vital lifeline to their basic needs. That’s a massive change for us.
What do you love about working in Downtown?
Whether you take a five-minute walk to get a tuxedo for a big gala or a casual burger and fries for lunch, everything in Bellevue is so accessible to all. I also love that you have all these high-rise towers with hundreds of successful companies, but there’s this great residential area too. And to top it off, you have the beautiful Bellevue Downtown Park for a breath of fresh air and great exercise.
Where do you see the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue in 3-5 years?
I see us continuing to respond to the needs of our community. Right now, we have 15 clubhouses throughout the area, but there are still so many more places we haven't been able to make an impact in because of capacity issues and other reasons. As our city continues to explode, I see our organization at the seat of the table advocating for young people in Bellevue. We need to start thinking about supporting the growth and making sure we're not adding 12,000 new kids without them having a safe, productive place to go after school. We need to start planning for the new challenges now.
Where do you see Downtown Bellevue in 3-5 years?
I see Bellevue as a thriving metropolis with its fair share of challenges. If we continue the same path, our city will only grow smarter over time. I hope to hear that Downtown Bellevue is a thriving mecca that people worldwide will look at as an example of controlled smart growth. It’s possible only when done well.
Where are your favorite places to dine in Downtown?
Our staff and volunteers at the clubhouse have this cult following for 520 Bar & Grill. The burger and steak salad are some of the best around. Bis on Main is incredible too. We honored owner Joe Vilardi as a club parent a few years ago because his team supports us in many ways. For example, they turned out hundreds of meals for our club members during the pandemic. Our experience with them has only ever been impeccable.
Do you have any favorite hidden gems in Bellevue?
The team over at the clubhouse loves to go over to T’Latte. The coffee and tea they serve are always tasty and they have tons of sugar-free syrups that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
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Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue 209 100th Ave NE Bellevue, WA 98004