When you have Scottsdale in your non-profit’s name it can give a preconceived perception that the community we serve is not in need. People would love to provide great statistics about how youth in Scottsdale have no issues, but for many of the youth we serve at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale that could not be further from the truth.
The community we serve has some startling statistics – 40% of schools in Scottsdale are now categorized as title 1 schools; 70% of children living south of Camelback Road have never been to a dentist; and 25% of 12th graders reported being drunk or high at school in the past year.
To combat these statistics we rely on our mission – to provide over 17,500 youth with the skills needed to be successful, responsible young adults and our communities next generation of leaders. We do this through programs taught by professionally trained staff based upon physical, cultural and social needs. Our youth learn how to be productive citizens, achieve academic success, learn healthy living habits, and build positive character skills and have fun! Our programs help our youth aspire to greater things when they move into adulthood and deter them from negative peer pressures they might be exposed to.
Beyond our mission we provide annual outreach services such as full dental and vision screenings to 300 youth in a mobile clinic and local offices and 55,000 free meals to our Club members. We are also one of the only organization’s that has programming inside a Juvenile Detention Center on Native American land. Since the program began six years ago the juvenile arrest rate has decreased by more than half. This speaks volumes to our ability to provide strong programs and positive role models to significantly reduce the rate of arrests among teens.
This programming goes beyond Scottsdale – only four our nine branches are located in Scottsdale the rest expand over Mesa, Phoenix, Fountain Hills and the Salt River Pima Maricopa and Hualapai Indian Communities. And this year, half of our branches qualify to receive funds from the Working Poor Tax Credit – a dollar-for-dollar Arizona state tax credit you can receive simply by donating to our organization.
We are proud to have Scottsdale in our name and realize it’s not always about what we are saving youth from, but what we are working to inspire them to become. Because every youth should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential no matter the city they reside, and we will not rest until they do.
Barry Chasse is Chairman of the Board for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. If interested in supporting the organization through the Working Poor Tax Credit, please visit www.bgcs.org/taxcredit.