By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On January 30 the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County announced their Great Futures Campaign. The goal of the fundraiser is to “serve more youth, more often, with greater impact.”
A major focus of the campaign is to add a Teen Center for high school students at the Memorial Park Boys & Girls Club, 3535 N. Western in Oklahoma City. The venue also provides space to host Club programs for students in three elementary schools. The campaign will allow enhanced programing at all four existing Club sites; Memorial Park, Santa Fee South Elementary School, Cesar Chavez Elementary School and Telstar Elementary School.
“The addition to the Memorial Park Club will add an additional 6,100 square feet of space specifically for our high school Club members with the goal of keeping more students involved at the Club through high school,” according to Jane Sutter, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County.
“The campaign includes a deeper level of impact with all ages (6-18), but especially with our middle school and high school students.
“Through a new Pathways Program, our staff is helping our teenage members assess their interests and talents and what they want to do after they graduate from high school.” Sutter continued. “Staff members will help students develop a plan to reach their goals, such as college, trade schools, or internships.
“The campaign is also designed to sustain the three Clubs we have in elementary schools: two in south Oklahoma City and one in Midwest City. If the campaign is fully funded, we plan to open a fifth club in the next couple of years,” Sutter said.
According to campaign co-chairs Gene Rainbolt and Mark McCubbin, the campaign has reached 75 percent of its $7.8 million goal crediting, “100 percent of board donations and other generous lead gifts from individuals and foundations.”
Initial donations for the Great Futures Campaign were made in memory of local oil and gas entrepreneur Aubrey K. McClendon in recognition of his support of the Boys & Girls Clubs and other community causes.
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County is to inspire and enable all youth to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens – especially those who are most in need. The organization has a current membership of 3,854 youth from, 6 to 18 years old. It serves up to 800 students after school each day as well as during summer and school breaks.
Founded in July 1995, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County first opened its doors at a small community center building located in Memorial Park. Soon outgrowing that space, the organization launched capital campaigns in 2007 and 2009 to build a 35,000 square feet facility at the same location. When full capacity was reached at Memorial Park, a partnership was developed to begin Club after school activities in the two south elementary schools in Oklahoma City and one in Midwest City.
“We believe Boys & Girls Clubs make a tremendous difference not only for our youth and their families, but for the community as a whole,” said Sutter. “By providing academic support, positive adult role models and enrichment experiences, we contribute to a stronger citizenry in our community’s future.”
The Boys & Girls Club helps to bridge the opportunity gap for underserved youth by providing consistent role models and comprehensive programs such as character and leadership development, arts, technology and sports.
A United Way partner agency, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County collaborates with many agencies and organizations to provide the most opportunities for the youth it serves.