Walk into the Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley (BGCEV), and you'll find youth exploring the world and developing into the next generation of leaders. We all remember who was there for us when we were younger, who helped mentor us during vulnerable years of growing up. BGCEV is home to over 150 Eugene youth when the corona-virus is not affecting operations. However, corona-virus is affecting operations significantly, they are just adapting and finding ways to still serve youth safely under Oregon and CDC best practices and rules. BGCEV will be opening its doors on June 8th to 50 kids each week for the summer session.
To Matt, the pandemic presents an opportunity for the BGCEV to lean into our mission of serving vulnerable youth who need us most and better demonstrating our community value in Lane County. There is a substantial need for childcare and youth development in the area, and BGCEV is stepping in. Of course, Matt and the entirety of BGCEV would like to be serving more than 50 kids, but that's the protocol during a pandemic. With that in mind, BGCEV is working to create an enriching summer experience for the 50 lucky kids who do get to spend summer at the club.
So why has Matt worked for the Boys & Girls Club's mission for the last 15 years? His story started when he was a kid himself. Growing up, he was a heavier set kid who was made fun of quite often in Idaho. Matt found himself making friends with the migrant farm worker's kids, who treated him with dignity. As Matt aged, he leaned out and began to be bullied less. However, his friends who took him in as one of them started to face more discrimination. These injustices have fueled Matt to end inequities and provide an opportunity for ALL youth to be loved and cared for.
Boys & Girls Clubs provide youth an affordable place to learn, grow, and develop as young leaders. This growth place starts with the staff, who are well trained and coached to be positive mentors for the kids at the club. Matt explains the culture of BGCEV as a chain reaction of water being poured into cups, "you pour your support and care into the floor staff's cups, then the staff pours their care and support into the member's cups".
Consider the opportunity of mentoring youth for those of you reading and wanting to make a difference at the Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley. Not only does it provide a member of the Eugene community with someone who cares. But it can also help you develop into a better leader, and bring you more fulfillment.
Do you want to volunteer at the club? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Matt: email@example.com
Learn more about the Boys and Girls Club in your area here