Late Thursday night, a local funding source -- Bank of the Cascades -- stepped forward to keep the Boys & Girls Clubs branch located at the Ariel Glen and Ariel South apartments in southeast Bend open until the school year ends.
Terry Zink, the bank's president and CEO, said he was deeply concerned when he heard the news the southeast location of the Boys & Girls Clubs future was not solid in the coming year.
He reached out to Boys & Girls Clubs leadership to offer the assistance of the Bank of Cascades through the first quarter of next year.
With the support of the Bank of the Cascades and Housing Works, the Ariel Unit will operate until the school year ends.
Lisa Maxwell, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon, noted that it costs $105,000 to operate the Ariel Unit for a year, and the bank has offered to help with monthly costs through the spring.
Zink said he recognizes programs that serve low-income families are the foundation to building communities.
“It was simply not acceptable to walk away from children and families who need us the most," Zink said in a club news release issued Friday.
"I am challenging local leadership and resources to pool together and find funding sources for this high-risk area for the remainder of the year and beyond," he added. "We need to wrap our arms around all of our youth and help guide them through the challenges that are placed in front of them.”
Kenny LaPoint, Housing Works director, was stunned when he received a call with the news Friday morning. His first response was, “I am so grateful.”
“We recognize this as an extremely important resource for the residents of Ariel Glen apartments," LaPoint said. "To be able to reinstate this program really means that along with meeting kids essential needs, we will be able to prepare our youth to become participants in our society – rather than feeling powerless.”
Dan Shelfer, the club director of the Ariel Unit, also was elated to hear the news.
“Our Ariel Club members get to keep the doors of their home away from home open, where they have a blast after school every day, spending time with staff members and volunteers who care deeply about their bright futures," Shelfer said.
"The kids love the Ariel Club and will be so excited that their time there won’t be cut short!” he added,
Shelfer understands better than anyone else the impact a club can have on a young person’s life, as he was a long-time Club member, attending the downtown club as a teenager.
Shelfer attended college with the help of scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs and earned a degree in criminal justice and juvenile delinquency.
"Dan is the perfect fit for a community that needs discipline and firm leadership with a large dose of empathy and understanding," the club's announcement said.
The board of directors, the Bank of Cascades and Housing Works is seeking passionate leaders committed to making aggressive change and deepening the impact for young people to come together in the coming months.
In order for the community to thrive the formula, for achieving grater impact need to be built on collaboration and connectivity.
If you can accelerate the positive outcomes for youth by helping to create an active learning environment, access to industry experts, and assisting youth find career pathways, please contact Lisa Maxwell, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background on the Ariel Unit
The Ariel Unit began in June 2005 as a partnership between Housing Works and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon.
The Ariel Glen and Ariel South apartments are located in southeast Bend. The housing communities are in middle- to lower- income neighborhood consisting primarily of single-family homes.
The properties are across the street from each other and are within two blocks of a major park and elementary school. Ariel Glen consists of 70 multifamily units and serves families earning 75 percent or less of the area's median income.
The Ariel Unit has an annual registered membership of 106, and 39 youth are served on a daily basis. Youth served by additional outreach during activities and events totals 128.
The Club operates Monday-Friday for four hours a day after-school and during the summer for seven hours a day Monday – Friday. At present, 43 percent of the Club members have been attending the Club for two or more years, so many are tenured members.