FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2015
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Thanks to fundraising efforts from the “Our Kids, Our Future Campaign,” the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley broke ground on facilities that will allow the organization to serve more kids, more often, in a more meaningful way.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the Haslam Family Club University, which will be home to the Caswell Avenue Complex. Once complete, the complex will be a central hub for all Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley activities, and will allow for enhanced services to impact more youth across the community. The new facility will include a pool, gymnasium, teen center, technology center, medical clinic and administrative offices.
“Because of the generosity of so many East Tennesseans, we are in this position to break ground,” said Lisa Hurst, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley. “We are still raising funds for the project and continued support is needed as we move forward with the last phase of our campaign, which will allow us to serve more kids, more often, in a more meaningful way.”
The number of youth served by the clubs will increase to 7,500 annually by 2018. Additionally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley will invest in technology upgrades at all 19 clubs to ensure members have access to educational tools.
“I’d like to thank each and every person, family and business that contributed to the ‘Our Kids, Our Future’ campaign,” said Shakayla Blair, a fifth-grader at Inskip Elementary School who has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club for nine years. “You have invested in my future and our community. I will be forever grateful.”
There are many challenges facing today’s youth that the Boys & Girls Clubs strives to address. In the organization’s four-county service area, more than 43,000 school-aged children are classified as economically disadvantaged. Only 22 percent of low-income families have access to computers, and 82 percent of the kids served at local clubs live in food-insecure households, meaning they are hungry or at risk of going hungry.
“At the heart of this entire project and campaign is a desire to take Shakayla’s story and create hundreds more just like it,” Hurst added. “Today is the beginning of that process, and we are thrilled that so many members of our community supported our efforts.”
To learn more and to make a donation, community members can visit OurKidsOurFuture.com. Supporters also are encouraged to share the Boys & Girls Clubs story on social media using #OurKidsOurFuture.
About the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley:
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley began providing opportunities for youth in Knoxville in 1943 and has now grown into a four-county service area. Seventeen facilities exist in Knox, Blount, Loudon and North Anderson counties of the Tennessee Valley, and the clubs employ over 260 full-time and part-time staff members. Through the Boys & Girls Clubs, young people are shown that someone cares, and there are concerned and capable adults to whom they can turn for assistance. More than 6,300 at-risk boys and girls take advantage of the programs, activities and services provided by the clubs. They benefit from trained and caring staff and volunteers who help young people take control of their lives, envision productive futures and reach their goals.