When I first came to the Boys & Girls Club of Chester, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I was both honored and intimidated to be asked to join the team of such a long-standing institution. The “Club” was a mainstay in the Chester community, now celebrating 90 years of service. The “Club” had helped NUMEROUS youth and adults throughout Delaware County. And, though many were not aware, the “Club” was in trouble financially. Since that day, May 1, 2013, I can declare that the Boys & Girls Club of Chester staff and supporters have not rested. We came together as a team and the experience of working collectively to sustain an entity that continues to build and nurture our youth now and in the future has been remarkable.
With new and expanded programs like our award-winning gardening initiative, 21st CCLC, Drug Free Communities, Scuba Diving, Drone Camps, Teen Leadership, and more, we have been able to give our youth a 21st century experience. With the continued support of our committed board of directors, we have been able to realize strategic goals in fundraising, governance, partnerships, and projects that continue to support an optimal club experience for all of our members.
With the support of steadfast donors, BGCC was gifted a building, “The Howard L. Lanier III Teen Clubhouse”, which serves as dedicated teen space. We were the recipient of a 15 passenger van, courtesy of David Auto and Exelon Generation; and we were given a vending machine, courtesy of two special Chester Boys Club alumnae.
Since 2013, BGCC was awarded numerous awards for the work that we have continued to do in the community. Several include but are not limited to: 1) Delaware County Chamber’s 2017 Nonprofit of the Year, 2) Delaware County Cooperative 1st place Youth Garden Award for 4 years consecutively; 3) published BGCC’s first cookbook titled “What’s Cooking at the Boys & Girls Club”;4) honored as 2019 Super Heroes by United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey; 5) honored by Cabrini University as 2020 Moral and Courageous High Impact Educators; 6) graduated 9 professionally certified teen scuba divers and 11 skin divers; and 7) we provided over 4,000 meals and 200 boxes of produce, toiletries, and gift cards during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Forecasting the health of an organization is the job of an Executive Director, but attending to the well-being of a community is the job of ALL OF US. The Boys & Girls Club of Chester is a part of the fabric of the Chester community, and I am proud to report that WE are getting stronger and shining brighter each day. In the words of Marian Wright Edelman, “It is time for us to roll up our sleeves and put ourselves at the top of our commitment list.” THANK YOU for fueling the efforts of the Boys & Girls Club of Chester and putting us at the top of your commitment list.
With Extreme Gratitude,