I grew up a Club kid. I started going to the Boys and Girls Club for youth sports when I was just five years old, but really became a Club Kid in middle school when I needed a safe and positive environment after school.

 

I grew up a Club kid. I started going to the Boys and Girls Club for youth sports when I was just five years old, but really became a Club Kid in middle school when I needed a safe and positive environment after school.

So when one of my fellow Rotary Club of Tacoma South members mentioned in our May 2016 board meeting that the Schatz Branch of the Boys and Girls Club had lost their van when it was hit by a construction truck and couldn’t be recovered, my wheels started turning right away.

I approached my year as Rotary Club President the same way I approach most things. I made a list and chose one “BIG THING” to focus on. The big thing needed to be a project that helped my local community, enticed future members and was bigger than our club had ever done. Buying a van for the Schatz Branch and making it possible for more than 200 Club Kids to use it every year was a natural fit. But how was I going to get $45,000?!?

The Rotary Club of Tacoma South has just 25 members, but they are a mighty crew of committed Tacoma business people and citizens. Over the past six months, we embarked on raising two times more than what we have ever raised. First, we built up our one major fundraiser, an indoor mini-golf tournament. We increased planning meetings and focused our promotional efforts on our partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound (BGCSPS). We reached out to the BGCSPS to promote the event, wrote a story for the local Tacoma South Business District, put fliers in the Rhea Lana’s of Tacoma Consignment Sale, sent letters to every business we could think of, and created a Facebook event and shared it wildly. 

The night of the event the BGCSPS Area Director, our Rotary Club member, Gary Klein and a BGCSPS alumni gave a presentation on the van before I shared my personal story of how a BGC van brought me to Washington State, how a BGC program director told me I could be something, and how my life was changed by having a better place to be after school.

While our fundraiser was a success, the real “kick start” we needed came from a friendship formed at President-Elect Training (PETS). During PETS I met Becky Fontaine, the president-elect of Tacoma 8. We kept in touch and one day I mentioned my “BIG THING,” the van. I asked her if her club could help out and they came through in a big way.

We announced their original challenge match at the BGCSPS Board Meeting in October, but the night of our fundraiser Tacoma 8 increased their match to $15,000. Our help wouldn’t stop there as we had a contribution from Rotary Club of Clover Park, and many Rotarians from our surrounding clubs chip in to make this little club’s BIG THING happen.

In just six months, with the help of my entire Rotary Club and a whole lot of our friends, we raised $45,000. This spring we will hold a big reveal when the Schatz Branch brings a brand new van to the BGCSPS kids. Most importantly, I will get a chance to see kids, just like me, get into a BGC van on a field trip to learn more about how they, with a little hard work and higher education, can change the trajectory of their life.

I have many favorite Rotary moments, but seeing this van get to work helping Tacoma’s future leaders at the BGC will be the one that sticks with me forever.

- See more at: http://portal.clubrunner.ca/50092/SitePage/district-5020-bulletin-january-2017/i-grew-up-a-club-kid#sthash.W3aVfFIs.dpuf