Eau Claire – The Boys & Girls Clubs Greater Chippewa Valley – Menomonie Center has been a safe and positive place in the Menomonie community for youth since October of 2014. The Club has served over 700 youth through membership and community service sharing with them Club programming focused on healthy lifestyles, academic success, and character and citizenship. With so many successes it was with much deliberation that the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley, Board of Directors voted on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, pending a Menomonie community meeting on July 13, 2016 to suspend programming at the Menomonie Center at the conclusion of the summer program on August 19, 2016, due to financial sustainability. This decision was not reached lightly, with Club staff and the Menomonie Advisory Council working for the past several months to increase Club visibility and funding in the Menomonie community. They also met with community leaders and partners to discuss the Clubs viability in Menomonie.
“The School District has been a strong partner with the Boys & Girls Club. The program has had a tremendous impact on many students in our district.” Joe Zydowsky, the District Administrator for the School District of the Menomonie Area.
A few highlights from 2015, at the Menomonie Club:
• 700 youth served through membership and community outreach
• 64% of members qualified for free or reduced-price school lunch, showing the Club was reaching those in need
• In addition, 44% of member’s annual family income was $26,000 or less
• 102 members participated in community service
• 2,920 hours of homework activity were completed
• 8,112 healthy meals and snacks were served
• Average of over 188 hours of physical activity completed by members attending 105 days or more
• 96% of members attending did not have any police incidents, according to the Menomonie Police Department
The Club Board of Directors and staff will work with the Menomonie Advisory Council to make a long-term plan for gaining multi-year commitments from community supporters to fund the program by December 31, 2016, or if possible sooner.
The Board of Directors and staff remain optimistic about the future of the Menomonie Center. “We know there are many youth in the Menomonie community who could greatly benefit from the programs the Boys & Girls Club offers. This was not an easy decision but the Board of
Directors and the Menomonie Advisory Council will take the necessary steps to evaluate the process moving forward,” said Deb Fischer, President, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley Corporate Board of Directors.
In 2013, the Club completed a community assessment and feasibility study in Menomonie where key findings indicated that there was a significant need for an organization providing after school programming for youth. A steering committee was established and raised a year and a half of operating dollars prior to opening the Club in October 2014.
“The funds that we had from the initial fundraising campaign to bring the Club to Menomonie have been depleted. The community must invest in the Club for it to be successful,” said Fischer.
At this point, this is a suspension of the program, not a termination. The Club staff and Advisory Council will do everything they can increase financial support of programming and continue to serve Menomonie youth.
Questions: Sara Antonson, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley, Executive Director, 715-598-7201 or firstname.lastname@example.org