December 6, 2023 | Rebecca Scott for Travel Phoenix Oregon
As the next generation prepares to take their first steps out into the world, it’s important to nurture their self-esteem and help them learn the skills to become responsible and compassionate adults. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley does this by providing a safe and positive learning environment for local youth, including right here in Phoenix.
A strong foundation for youth
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley has offered after school care and summer programs for children in the Rogue Valley for 54 years, according to executive director Greg Roe.
“Our clubs reach from the Illinois Valley to Talent, Phoenix and several towns throughout the Rogue Valley,” said Roe.
The local clubs are independently run and located in nearly every sizable Oregon town, as well as throughout the United States. The organization itself dates back to the 1800s, and in Southern Oregon, a former club member started a local chapter here in 1970.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley offers its participants a variety of programs, including STEM, arts, leadership, athletics, homework help and more. They also have a teen program which focuses on showcasing potential career paths for students after they graduate from high school. The students learn about different trades and tour the local community college and university. One of the goals of the program is to help students make sure they know about every career option available to them—whether that’s attending college or pursuing a trade.
“Our programming runs the gamut,” said Roe, “and we provide the same programs throughout the entire system because we don’t want a single child to miss out.”
The services each club offers creates a safe and fun environment for youth to grow and thrive, especially in lower income communities. According to Roe, 75% of the families they serve are economically disadvantaged, which is more than 2,000 children.
In addition to providing a positive experience for students, the clubs also help the parents. A large portion of the families that Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley helps are single parent households. The clubs are an affordable after school option for these families and provide a sense of balance and security.
“It allows the parents to have more time to dedicate to their full-time job or other obligations, while knowing their children are safe,” said Roe.
The clubs also host family nights that are geared toward the parents and children as a unit. These gatherings allow the clubs to stay involved with the families and get to know them on a deeper level.
“Our front desk staff get to know the families and help them get access to whatever resources they may need, whether that’s counseling, medical care or housing,” said Roe.
That’s just one way the clubs work with, and helps, the entire family. The staff see the parents every day when they pick up their kids, so they tend to become one big family.
A new club at Phoenix Elementary School recently opened, and in the few months since its opening, it has already become a major success.
“It’s been great to return to Phoenix,” said Roe. “There was a need for a low cost after school program here. We already had a great relationship with the school district, so it made sense to have a club in Phoenix.”
The organization is also hoping to build a newer, larger club in Phoenix in the next couple years, which could bring in even more students and families from Phoenix and Talent.
Overall, Roe is thankful to be part of an organization which helps local families and brings unique opportunities to children throughout the valley.
Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley Facebook page