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BGCS hires Dr. Donna Jagielski to head up programming for new STEAM Makerspace initiative

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale announced that Dr. Donna Jagielski was selected to fill the role of STEAM Educator/Makerspace Director to create and lead cutting edge programming as part of an initiative to spark interest in growing Arizona career fields.

The announcement comes as the youth development organization nears completion of its first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Makerspace Studio slated to open this November in the Virginia G. Piper clubhouse located within the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood.

Dr. Jagielski has more than 12 years of experience in STEAM-based teaching and holds an education doctorate in Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University. She most recently served as STEAM and Technology Integration Specialist for Maricopa Unified School District.

“Donna is uniquely qualified to provide BGCS Club members programming and experiences that will expand upon what is taught in schools,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President & CEO. “Arizona continues to be a projected leader in the growth of STEM and computing jobs, and we are committed to helping accelerate learning in these areas for our youth and teens.”

The STEAM Makerspace Studio at the Virginia G. Piper Branch will serve as a blueprint for future spaces in the other seven Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale branch locations. Annually, upwards of 6,000 youth in kindergarten through 12th grade will experience programming and specialized activities devoted completely to creating and designing using 3D printers, laser engravers, electronics, robotics, circuitry, coding, and other STEAM-related equipment.

“In these new STEAM Makerspace Studios, we will cultivate an environment that encourages Club members to collaborate, innovate, and create,” said Dr. Jagielski. “We will provide immediate and exciting connections to real world applications to take our kids and teens beyond what is taught in the K-12 education system.”

BGCS has been actively bringing investors together for the new Ellie & Michael Ziegler STEAM Makerspace program, to build-out state-of-the-art spaces with equipment and programming at each of its branch locations over the next three years.

As community leaders and generous philanthropists, the Zieglers have invested $1.5 million in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale STEAM initiative.

“These innovative spaces encourage collaborative thinking to address tomorrow’s challenges,” said Ellie Ziegler. “Michael and I sought to fund a forward-thinking environment where youth are empowered to compete in a global marketplace, ultimately becoming college and career-ready change agents for the 21st century.”

This is not the first time the Zieglers have led the way in supporting youth and teens in the community. In 2012, they initiated the BGCS back to school shopping program to provide new clothes and shoes to youth and teens in need so that they could return to school with confidence, ready to learn. They continued funding, planning and helping kids shop for six years, inspiring community support and volunteering that has helped to keep the annual shopping event going strong.

In 2018, Ellie and Michael gave $1 million to complete safety and technical updates and a teen center refresh at the BGCS Vestar Branch in Desert Ridge. The Ellie & Michael Ziegler Teen Center at the Vestar Branch provides educational, leadership and healthy lifestyle programming as well as a safe place for more than 150 teens when school is out.

“Ellie and Michael have impacted countless lives with their generosity and heart for helping youth and teens succeed,” said Julien. “They exemplify the leadership and passion for helping others we work to instill in our Club members. We are extremely grateful for everything they do for our kids and our community.”

For more information about the STEAM Makerspace initiative or other Club programming, please call 480-344-5520 or visit www.bgcs.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale to open Anthem Extension, offer full day facilitated virtual learning services

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is opening a full-time extension site on Wednesday, August 5 in the growing Anthem community to serve K-6th graders.

The addition of the Anthem Extension comes as part of the youth development organization’s efforts to serve more kids and families with its Facilitated Virtual Learning programming in the wake of delayed in-person learning for Arizona schools.

“We know that many parents are left scrambling to figure out how they will be able to work and keep their children home when the new school year begins, let alone facilitate their online schooling,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President, and CEO. “I am proud and excited to announce that we will be expanding our geographical reach a little further north to provide our essential services in the Anthem community.”

The BGCS Anthem Extension is located just south of the Anthem Outlets on the west side of the I-17 Freeway at 42101 N. 41st Drive in the Legacy Commons campus shared with The Crossroads Church, Starting Blocks Academy, and Ridgeline Academy.

Initial membership will be capped at 50 to ensure physical distancing in the 2,800 square foot space that has undergone construction to open up the main programming area and add safety sight lines between rooms. The entire space has been refreshed with new flooring, paint, and furnishings in preparation for the August 5th opening.

Kids will take part in STEM programming in the site’s Cox Technology Center; get help with and complete their homework in the education room; play foosball, ping pong, and recreational activities in the games space; experience art and creative programming in the multipurpose area; and expend some energy in the outdoor play area.

Registered members can bring their electronic devices to complete remote schoolwork at the extension site from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Club staff will provide technical assistance for logging into remote school sites and help children as they manage their schoolwork schedules. When schoolwork is complete, kids will participate in regular fun Club programming and activities.

When children return to in-person schooling, the BGCS Anthem Extension site will adjust its hours to provide after-school programming from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
BGCS continues to operate with a comprehensive safety plan that follows CDC and local health guidelines put in place at the onset of statewide COVID-19 closures.

“We have been operating Summer Camp effectively with our new safety procedures in place for over two months now,” explained Julien. “We are able to control the Club environment including the number of people in the facility to ensure physical distancing with our programming and regular handwashing for the kids. Our youth are learning great healthy lessons that will serve them well, especially when schools return to in-person learning.”

New members are currently being accepted. Space is limited to assure physical distancing. Register online at www.bgcs.org/clubconnect.

  • Kids will need to bring their own tech devices and headphones. Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale will provide the WIFI and staff to assist with technology setup, troubleshooting, and managing schoolwork completion.
  • Kids will take part in regular Club activities when schoolwork is complete.
  • A current $25 annual membership is required for all kids who attend a Club
  • Facilitated Virtual Learning programming for youth grades K-6th is $179 per week or $40 a day for those families who only need a few days a week.

The following safety procedures are in place at all Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale facilities:

  • All members and staff have their body temperature taken with no-touch thermometers prior to entering the facility
  • Hand sanitizer is required for all entering the facility
  • Planned/spaced hand washing for members between rotations
  • Hourly disinfecting of high touch areas
  • Programming that is physical distancing conscious
  • Field trips and external outings have been canceled until further notice
  • Entry is limited to those who provide direct services to Club members
  • Professional regularly scheduled sanitization of facilities
  • Facial coverings (covering nose and mouth) required for members and staff

In addition to the new Anthem Extension site, Facilitated Virtual Learning is available at the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch in south Scottsdale, the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch in Fountain Hills, the Virginia G. Piper Branch in the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood, the Thunderbirds Branch in the Grayhawk Community, and the Vestar Branch in Desert Ridge.

To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, please visit www.bgcs.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale provides solution for families unable to keep their kids home when the new school year starts

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) announced that they will extend full-day programs after the start of the school year to provide Facilitated Virtual Learning at five Valley Club locations for families that are not able to keep their children home.

“With the recent announcement that the upcoming school year will begin with remote learning, many parents are left scrambling to figure out how they will be able to work and keep their young children home, let alone facilitate their online schooling,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President and CEO. “I am very proud to announce that we will continue to adapt and provide the essential services needed by our families and our community.”

Beginning August 5, full-day school year programming will be available at the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch in south Scottsdale, the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch in Fountain Hills, the Virginia G. Piper Branch in the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood, the Thunderbirds Branch in the Grayhawk Community, and the Vestar Branch in Desert Ridge. New members are being accepted; however, space is limited to assure physical distancing. Register online at www.bgcs.org/clubconnect.

  • Kids/teens will need to bring their own tech devices and headphones. Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale will provide the WIFI and staff to assist with technology setup and troubleshooting.
  • Kids/teens will take part in regular Club activities when schoolwork is complete.
  • A current $25 annual membership is required for all kids and teens who attend the Club.
  • Facilitated Virtual Learning programming for youth ages 5-12 is $179 per week or $40 a day for those families who only need a few days a week. Registration is required a week in advance to receive the day rate to ensure time to adequately staff and be prepared for physical distancing needs.
  • Teens participating in Facilitated Virtual Learning programs will be charged $50 per week.

The following safety procedures are in place at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale:

  • Curbside drop-offs and pickups in the front of all open Clubs to limit non-members and non-staff from entering the facilities
  • All members and staff have their body temperature taken with no-touch thermometers prior to entering the building
  • Hand sanitizer is required for all entering the building
  • Planned/spaced hand washing for members between rotations
  • Hourly disinfecting of high touch areas
  • Programming that is physical distancing conscious
  • Field trips and external outings have been canceled until further notice
  • No entry into the Clubs from parents/outside guests/volunteers who do not provide direct services to members
  • Professional regularly scheduled sanitization of Clubs
  • Facial coverings (covering nose and mouth) required for members and staff

Since reopening on May 18 after a two-month closure to help slow the spread of COVID-19, BGCS has operated with a comprehensive safety plan in place following CDC and local health guidelines. The youth development organization has been providing essential services for parents who have not been able to keep their children home this summer.

“We have been operating Summer Camp effectively with our new safety procedures in place for over two months now,” explained Julien. “We are in the unique position to be able to control the Club environment including the number of people in the building to ensure physical distancing with our programming and regular handwashing for the kids. Our youth are learning great healthy lessons that will serve them well especially when schools return to in-person learning.”

To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale or programming offered, please visit www.bgcs.org.

Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
2311 N. Miller Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
(480) 947-6331

Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch
14605 N. Del Cambre Avenue
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
(480) 344-5400

Thunderbirds Branch
20199 N. 78th Place
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
(480) 538-9547

Vestar Branch
3975 E. Lockwood Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85050
(480) 585-0170

Virginia G. Piper Branch
10515 E. Lakeview Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
(480) 860-1601

Clubs re-open following two-month COVID-19 Closure

On Monday, May 18, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) re-opened five of its nine branch locations following a 2-month closure to slow the spread of the Coronavirus in accordance with federal and state guidelines.

The Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch in south Scottsdale, the Virginia G. Piper Branch in the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood, the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch in Fountain Hills, the Thunderbirds Branch in the Grayhawk Community, and the Vestar Branch in Desert Ridge will open summer day camps Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Additionally, each branch has a teen center offering summer teen programming.

“Many of the families we serve are heading back to their places of business and really need us right now,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President & CEO. “We have spent the past two months preparing our safe reopening plan that follows all updated CDC guidelines and training teammates on new procedures and practices.”

The five Clubs reopening on Monday have undergone deep cleaning and sanitizing, painting, and reorganizing. Parents/guardians can expect curbside drop-offs and pickups which include temperature checks upon check-in.

The following additional safety procedures have been put in place:

  • Curbside drop-offs and pickups in the front of all open Clubs
  • All Club members and staff will have their body temperature taken prior to entering the building using no-touch thermometers
  • Hand sanitizer will be required for all before entering the building
  • Planned/spaced hand washing for members between rotations during the day
  • Members will be reminded to not touch their face and to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing
  • Hourly disinfecting of high touch areas
  • Programming that is social distancing conscious with instructions and reminders at the beginning of each rotation
  • Field trips and external outings have been canceled until further notice
  • Entry into the Clubs is prohibited to anyone who does not provide direct services to members – this includes sports clinics and camps

“Our team of youth development professionals has been planning weekly themes, reading and literacy activities, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects, games and challenges and a lot of fun for our members,” said Julien. “Kids are ready to get back to the business of being kids, and we are thrilled to be there for them.”

Space is limited to keep groupings of kids to 10 or less during each rotation. For youth members, the cost is $179/week. Teen members attend at no charge with a current $25 annual membership. Register at www.bgcs.org/clubconnect.

Club sports have been canceled for the summer season with the expectation of opening fall sports registrations on July 6. Those interested in a small clinic or camp for volleyball or basketball may contact Avalanche Athletics (avalancheathletics.com) or Hoop Code (hoopcode.com).

Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs names Carly Mertz 2020 Arizona State Youth of the Year, Dylan Voy 2020 Arizona Military Youth of the Year

Outstanding teens from seven Arizona Boys & Girls Clubs and military base youth programs competed for the highest state Club member honors using video conferencing

PHOENIX – Carly Mertz, 17, and Dylan Voy, 18, were awarded Arizona Youth of the Year honors during an online ceremony organized by the Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and presented by Fiesta Bowl Charities on Tuesday, March 31.

Carly, a 12-year member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Thunderbirds Branch, was named the 2020 Arizona State Youth of the Year.

Dylan, a seven-year member of the Luke AFB Youth Program, received the 2020 Arizona State Military Youth of the Year top honors.

Selected from a field of 7 candidates from Boys & Girls Club organizations around the state, Carly and Dylan will receive scholarships and go on to compete at the regional level in their respective categories. Regional winners move on to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year competition.

“It is an absolute honor to represent my Thunderbirds Branch, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, and the State of Arizona,” said Carly following the announcement. “It means so much to me to be able to give something back to the Boys & Girls Clubs since they have done so much for me throughout my life. I hope to raise awareness about the serious issues of negative mental health in youth and teens and to make support systems more accessible.”

In Carly’s three-minute competition speech she cited the national statistic that one in five teenagers struggle with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy and spoke passionately about the Club’s programs and mentors that continue to help her find confidence, positive body image, and acceptance.

“We are so very proud of Carly and the impressive young lady she has become,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS CEO. “She truly exemplifies the magic of the Clubs and will be an impactful spokesperson for the growing number of teens in all demographics who struggle with anxiety disorders.”

Each of the seven teen candidates presented their three-minute speeches to judges and completed the interview process using video conferencing on Monday, March 30, 2020. The winners were announced live online in a virtual ceremony the following day.

“Even though I would have loved to meet the other amazing candidates, Boys & Girls Clubs of America kept everyone safe by making the process virtual,” Carly added. “I am so excited to have this opportunity to make Arizona proud.”

Carly has been accepted to Arizona State University’s Barrett, The Honors College, and will pursue her interests in community service and corporate responsibility through a major in marketing and hospitality.

Dylan is taking honors and AP classes while maintaining a 3.6 GPA. His goal after graduation is to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering before joining the US Air Force as an officer.

“These youth represent the very best of our Clubs. Their academic and philanthropic achievements are an inspiration in a time of so much uncertainty and change,” said Andy Reese, the Board Chair for the Arizona Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. “Our Clubs have been a stabilizing force in the lives of thousands of youth around Arizona, and I’m thrilled to see Carly and Dylan advance to the regional Youth of the Year competition.”

All of the candidates previously competed at local levels to represent their individual Boys & Girls Club organizations before moving on to the state competition. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year Program is a premier youth development recognition experience celebrating academic success, examples of leadership and overall Club involvement. Teens must write multiple essays, participate in the interview process and deliver a three-minute speech highlighting the impact of their Club experience.

Arizona State Youth of the Year judges:
Chelsea Collins – Customer Service Manager, Toyota/Lexus Financial Services
Emily Holden – Director of Game & Event Operations, Fiesta Bowl
Mark Gretter – Director of Youth Basketball Programs, Phoenix Suns

Arizona State Youth of the Year candidates:
Carly Mertz, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
Jasimiair Roebuck, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson
Samia Ruiz, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix
Jacob Thompson, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River
Cesar Villasenor, Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley

Arizona Military Youth of the Year candidates:
Dylan Voy, Luke AFB Youth Program
Liesl White, Davis-Monthan AFB Youth Program

Carly M. named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale 2020 Youth of the Year

At its annual Celebrate Youth Gala Friday night, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) named Carly M. its 2020 Youth of the Year. Carly, age 17, has been a member of the BGCS Thunderbirds Branch for 12 years.

In front of more than 600 guests at the gala presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Meritage Homes, Carly told her story of finding confidence, positive body image, and acceptance at the Club. She says her Club mentors and programs have helped her overcome the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy that one in five teenagers struggle with each year.

Carly will receive a $5,000 scholarship for college which will help her achieve her goal of becoming an event planner for a non-profit.

“Our gala guests are always in awe of our teen leaders, and this year our eight finalists did not disappoint,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President and CEO. “On full display at the Celebrate Youth Gala was the true impact of the Clubs—confident, compassionate and resilient young leaders on their individual paths to great futures.”

Carly was chosen from a field of 8 finalists that included: Joseph (JP) C. age 15, from the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch; Zaria G., age 15, from the Lehi Branch; Annay L., age 18, from the Scottsdale Charros Branch; Kennise M., age 16, from the Red Mountain Branch; Kayla M., age 17, from the Virginia G. Piper Branch; Jason N., age 17, from the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch; and Isabella T., age 16, from the Vestar Branch.

Youth of the Year is a national Boys & Girls Clubs of America program promoting leadership, exceptional academic performance and community service. The competition began in September with 19 BGCS teens vying for the Clubs’ highest honor and a total of $12,000 in scholarship awards provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Foundation. Broadband Dynamics and Gabbie and Bob Rife provided an additional $2,000 for each finalist.

In the months leading up to the final competition, candidates prepare by writing multiple essays and participating in panel interviews with community leaders. The teens also practiced their presentations of Club experiences, personal growth, and transformation which they shared on the big stage at the Celebrate Youth Gala.

Proceeds generated from sponsorships, ticket and table sales, auction items and paddle-raiser purchases go directly to fund Club programming.

Carly will go on to compete at the state level on March 30, 2020, with the potential to move onto regional and national competitions.

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ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF GREATER SCOTTSDALE

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) serves thousands of youth at nine Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation.

Research shows that the more time youth spend at a Boys & Girls Club, the more likely they are to feel more connected to school and have greater post-secondary aspirations. The door to our kids’ futures is often crowded by temptation and misdirection making it difficult for them to reach their full potential. Inside our doors, youth development professionals and mentors provide guidance, support, and encouragement in an enriching and safe environment. Our outcome-based programming assures that success is in reach for all kids and teens who enter our doors, no matter their circumstances.

 

Cox Awards $20,675 to upgrade technology space at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Fountain Hills Branch

A refurbished and upgraded technology innovation lab funded by a $20,675 award from Cox Communications, Inc., was unveiled at the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale on Friday, Aug. 9.

The Cox Innovation Lab features new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and technology upgrades including 10 high-speed laptops, a MacBook, 2 virtual reality headsets, Nintendo Labo, a 4K TV display, and a 3D printer making the space the first of its kind in Fountain Hills.

“At Cox we believe that life is better when we have more moments of real human connection. Not only does access to the Internet keep students connected to their teachers, but we know it is a vital tool for school work and STEM programs,” said Susan Anable, Southwest Region Vice President of Public Affairs, Cox Communications.  “We know that this Innovation Lab will not only provide moments of fun, but with access to the Internet a world is opened to young minds.”

Located in the McKee Branch teen center, the lab will also be used for programming made available to younger Club members.

“With this new technology, any place can now become a learning environment,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President & CEO. “By funding this lab, Cox provided our kids with opportunities to explore faraway places with virtual reality headsets, create robots, learn coding and programming, and create digital art. These are skills and experiences that will help our kids prepare for the jobs of tomorrow right here in our state.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Change the Equation, Inc. projects a growth of 23% in STEM jobs in Arizona through 2024 and ranked Arizona second in growth for computing jobs.

Virtual reality headsets along with 360-degree cameras will provide BGCS members the ability to explore other countries, play games, and create their own 360-degree images and videos. With Nintendo Labo, kids will be able to create interactive modules like steering wheels and robots. The 4K television display will be used to show demos while Club members work at their own station, view virtual reality images, and provide the greatest clarity possible for the Nintendo experience. With the 3D printer, kids will be exposed to coding and digital art creation.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch serves 650 youth and teen members with before school and after school programming as well as summer day camp and sports leagues. The McKee Branch is located on North Del Cambre Avenue in Fountain Hills. To learn more about this Club, visit www.bgcs.org or call (480) 344-5400.

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation Invests $120,000 In Boys & Girls Club Scholarship Recipients By Funding A New Staff Position To Support Students Across Phoenix And Scottsdale Clubs

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix (BGCMP) has been awarded a $120,000 grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to establish a full-time College Access and Success Manager. The new position will benefit both Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) by managing the multiple scholarships available to Club youth and providing direct support to scholarship recipients throughout their college career.

“Education plays a key role in shaping a person’s future,” said businessman Bob Parsons. “This collaborative position will help the Boys & Girls Clubs provide scholarship students with the structure and support they need to be successful in their pursuit of higher education.”

Over the past few years, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation – and a number of other organizations and individuals – have provided scholarship funding for Club members. Many of the scholarship recipients come from families living at or below the poverty level, and a large majority of them are the first in their family to pursue higher education. Students in these situations often lack the support system to help them navigate the college experience and too often scholarships go unused because the student is overwhelmed or doesn’t know where to turn for help.

“Attending college or getting post-secondary training is one of the best ways for teens to break the cycle of familial poverty, but these students encounter challenges at home and at school that their counterparts may not face,” said Marcia Mintz, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. “Our students worked very hard in high school to graduate and earn a scholarship. Thanks to the grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, we will now be able to continue to support our scholarship students as they navigate the world of higher education.”

The Success Manager will support nearly two dozen clubs across Phoenix and Greater Scottsdale, teaching scholarship recipients how to prepare for college, set up a bank account, manage their financial aid and scholarship funds, and fulfill their academic scholarship requirements. Because the vast majority of the youth in this program will be first-generation college students, the Success Manager also will serve as their support system to answer questions and provide ongoing encouragement and reassurance as they work toward a degree.

“Having someone in their corner who can help navigate both the financial and academic challenges of college will give Boys & Girls Club youth a much greater chance at success,” said businesswoman Renee Parsons. “The results will benefit not only the scholarship recipient but their entire family by helping first-generation and lower-income students accomplish lasting success.”

Longtime advocates for the Boys & Girls Club, this recent grant brings The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation’s total support – across both Metro Phoenix and Greater Scottsdale clubs – to more than $9 million, including many Youth of the Year scholarships

“Teens like Kyla Silas, our 2017 Youth of the Year and first-generation college student, often feel like their dreams are not possible as they begin to explore the cost of higher education,” said Robyn Julien, CEO of

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. “Because of the support from donors like the Parsons, and with guidance through the scholarship funding process, our youth realize that they are capable of achieving their dreams, even with all the changes and added responsibilities that go along with attending college.”

Research has shown that the more time youth spend at a Boys & Girls Club, the more connection they feel to school and the greater their post-secondary aspirations become. Thousands of youth walk through the door of a Boys & Girls Club every day, where they are prepared to become 21st century leaders, globally competitive graduates, innovative dream makers and healthy game changers. To learn more visit: https://www.bgca.org/.

Red Mountain Branch Teen Development Specialist honored with Innovation Award

Angela DiCicco, Teen Development Specialist at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s (BGCS) Red Mountain Branch, was presented with the prestigious Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2019 Money Matters Innovation Award. Council Members Michael Dallas and Tom Largo were on hand to recognize DiCicco at the BGCS all-staff meeting held at the Lehi Community Center on Thursday, April 4.

The Innovation Award recognizes only 6 Clubs nationally who are implementing innovative financial literacy programming. DiCicco created a comic book to go hand-in-hand with the BGCA Money Matters curriculum helping Club members become interested in and understand the importance of financial responsibility. The Red Mountain BGCS Branch will receive $1,000 from Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a result of the program’s enhancement created by DiCicco.

“A lot of our teens are into comic books and our younger kids love them too,” said DiCicco. “It’s a good way to inspire both youth and teens with the message of financial responsibility that all of our Clubs can use.”

Money Matters promotes financial responsibility and independence among Club members ages 13 to 18. Participants learn how to manage a checking account, create a budget, save and invest, start small businesses, and pay for college.

“We recognize that increasing the financial literacy of youth in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is a priority for our organization,” said Tamara Littlesalt-Butler, BGCS Vice President of Native American & Community Services. “Angela’s ability to retool program curriculums to fit the needs and interests of our youth has helped us make a huge impact for our members.”

The Red Mountain Branch and the Lehi Branch of BGCS are both located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and the organization’s youth development programming at www.bgcs.org.

Youth display art at Innovative Dreammakers EXPO

Youth and teen members from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) displayed their visual, digital, and performing art at the 2nd Annual Innovative Dreammakers EXPO as part of National Fine Arts Exhibit programming on Wednesday, April 3 at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts.

Fine art and photography pieces were showcased at the EXPO that placed during organizational competitions held throughout the year along with live vocal, dance, drama, hoop dance, and cheer performances.

“I like art because I get to use my imagination and go free. Someday I’m going to be a famous artist,” said Geo, age 8 from the BGCS Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch. He proudly displayed his 2nd place winning mixed media art at the EXPO.

Over the past year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale has committed to growing its arts programming with daily fine arts activities, specialized art classes, environmental art programming, and one-of-a-kind experiences and career development with Valley artists. As part of the Innovative Dreammaker initiative, youth also are exposed to performance opportunities with dance classes, cheer teams, music, and voice.

“I like cheer and dance because it is fun and when I’m bored, I can just do it,” said Beyonce, age 10 from the BGCS Scottsdale Charros Branch. Beyonce and her cheer team performed at the EXPO. “It makes me happy to dance with my friends. The most exciting thing that happened was when we won the Spirit Stick at the Chant Off at the end of summer camp last year.”

“At a time when schools continue to cut back on arts education, we are making sure all of our after-school program members have access to fine arts programming every week,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President and CEO. “We are forming new partnerships with respected Valley arts organizations so that we can bring the best into our Clubs.”

A Thunderbirds Charities award of $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) spearheaded the growth of the initiative which has already shown results in helping youth to develop specialized skills, find their passions, and use their voice.

“We’re thrilled to help Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale and their mission to foster innovation in our communities,” said Thunderbirds Charities President Carlos Sugich. “BGCS has a tremendous positive impact on our young people and we’re very proud to help any way we can.”

“This generous gift from Thunderbirds Charities is critical to our year-round Innovative Dream-Maker programming,” said Julien. “We are continually grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for their commitment to our community and helping our youth develop the skills they need to be successful.”

The winning pieces from competitions held throughout the year will be sent to the regional competition which will be hosted by BGCS on May 14 at the BIG YAM offices on Northsight in Scottsdale. Included are:

Multicolor Drawing
Dustin M., 9, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Taliya W., 10, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Edward C., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Collage
Nicole S., 6, Vestar Branch
Alyssa P., 10, Lehi Branch
Olivia H., 13, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Watercolor
Lena M., 8, Vestar Branch
Yaya H., 10, Vestar Branch
Julia G., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Pastel
Nicole S., 6, Vestar Branch
Jaden L., 12, Vestar Branch

Monochromatic Drawing
Lexi A., 8, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Gage V., 11, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Edward C., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Gianna M., 17, Vestar Branch

Acrylic or Oil
Gina M., 8, Vestar Branch
Josh G., 11, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Julia G., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Rena J., 17, Thunderbirds Branch

Printmaking
Aahaan B., 8, Vestar Branch
Harper H., 11, Thunderbirds Branch
Karym N., 14, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Sarah G., 16, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch

Mixed Media
Betsy S., 9, Red Mountain Branch
Julienne H., 11, Thunderbirds Branch
Joshua B., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Group Project
Virginia G. Piper Branch Chihuly Project

BGCS offers of variety of arts and innovation programming at their nine Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, Mesa, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation.

The National Fine Arts program offered to all members focuses on one medium a month to encourage artistic expression including drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and sculpture. Youth artists whose work shows improvement and promise in their age group are placed in competition at local and regional exhibits. A panel of judges selects works for inclusion in the National Fine Arts Exhibit, which is displayed at Boys & Girls Clubs of America events.

Boys & Girls Clubs’ ImageMakers Photography program teaches youth the art and science of photography designed to help Club members go beyond taking simple snapshots on their phones and develop the skills to produce impactful photographs.

“In our Clubs, we witness firsthand the positive impact of arts programming. Members not only gain hands-on skills but also develop cultural awareness and community connectedness,” said Lyndal Pleasant, BGCS Director of Arts Programming. “Performing arts opportunities allow members to be recognized for their creativity and self-expression. We were excited to see so many from the community come to view the exhibits and support our young artists.”

Find out more about programming at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale by visiting www.bgcs.org.