On a warm spring day, a crowd of local supporters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley gathered together to celebrate the 1- year anniversary of the Bethel Boys and Girls Club satellite branch. This facility more than doubled the care which the Boys & Girls Club had historically provided area students, highlighting the importance of these types of facilities in supporting local families.
The Eugene Chamber was proud to host the ribbon-cutting portion of this event, where Chamber Ambassadors and staff supported promotion of this exciting celebration. Ribbon-cuttings are a traditional method of Chambers of Commerce used to highlight new businesses, expansions, and new service offerings at local community organizations. We were excited to see so many individuals from all over the community come out to support this local organization in their support of the children of the Bethel community.
“Their expansion is a win for our whole community.”
Holly Mar Conte, Childcare Sector Strategist, Onward Eugene
Matt Sorensen, Boys & Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley Executive Director said of this celebration, “this Clubhouse is not just a building; it is a beacon of hope and opportunity for our community. By addressing the pressing need for school-age childcare and youth development programs, we are ensuring that our children have access to a nurturing environment where they can learn, play, and build essential life skills.”
With 89% of area Boys & Girls Club kids coming from economically disadvantaged homes, programs like the Bethel Clubhouse provide critical support for Bethel area students, acting as a buoy for academic and personal growth through access to affordable, high-quality care.
Communities throughout the United States, including Lane County, are experiencing an increasing lack of this kind of access to care.
Holly Mar Conte, childcare sector strategist for Onward Eugene, spends her days working to make connections among childcare providers, families, employers, and new opportunities for growth. “Lane County”, Mar Conte shares, “like most others in Oregon, is a child care desert. This means there aren’t enough child care slots available to meet the needs of kids and families.” She writes, “the Boys & Girls Club is a critical partner at the table helping to close the gap and ensure kids in our community have access to affordable, quality care after school and during the summer. Their expansion is a win for our community.”
As club kids and staff, community members, and Chamber partners gathered around the green ribbon to take a brief moment in celebration, we were reminded of the win it is for us all when kids have access to safe, fun, and accessible care.
“We firmly believe that every child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or financial circumstances”, says Sorensen. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Bethel School District, our dedicated staff, and the generous support of our community, without which this milestone would not have been possible”.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley
Boys & Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley (BGCEV) has been serving our community since 1999 with the mission “to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Boys & Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley is open to all youth ages 6-18, first through twelfth grade. Club membership will cost only $40 per child.