Safford – The Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley held an open house, Friday, April 27. The purpose of the event was to recap the 2017 year and recognize the youth of the club for outstanding achievements. The event featured Glee Club Performances, a tour and demonstrations and club member recognition.
Attendees were welcomed to the event by CEO and Director, Mick Ruiz. Ruiz assumed leadership a year ago and told the audience that his first year had been a great adventure. “I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Ruiz said. “Everyday I look forward to working with the staff, and most importantly seeing the children. It’s amazing to see where they were last year and to see where they are today.”
Ruiz said they’ve tried a lot of new things this past year. The club had about 90 kids per day through the summer. The Safford School District provided breakfast and lunch for the summer events through the USDA Food Program. Each week had a theme, ranging from sports, red white and blue for the fourth of July to Western. The themes were posted to a bulletin board and the kids got to choose which themes they wanted. Each week ended with a costume contest according to the theme of the week.
One of the highlights for the school year was a new Legos Robotics program, which was made possible by a grant from Freeport McMoran. The Lego Robotics team participated in a regional competition in Yuma, where the kids were able to interact with kids from other boys & girls clubs and see how different clubs operate. Ruiz said that one team at the competition was having problems with their Lego robotics and the Safford team was able to help them get it working so they could enter the competition.
Ruiz highlighted the activities of the Torch Club., led by Mikayla Cope. In this program kids learn how to run a business, provide customer service, take inventory, and manage cash flow and expenses. The Torch Club has donated 481 of community service during the past year. The Torch Store made $2,927. $289 was donated to hurricane relief. Some of the money was used for a Halloween haunted house. They bought a brand new laminator for the club. The money also helped cover fuel costs for club trips, and “Fun Days,” which were local events in which the kids participated in local outings.
Ruiz said they’re looking to partner with the library to start a teen club and provide activities suited to teenagers. The Boys & Girls Club will provide 2 staff members to help with teen library programs.
Ruiz also announced the current board members for the Boys & Girls Club:
James Bryce – Chair
Charmayne Dobbs – Vice Chair
Dan Ziccerelli – Secretary
Eddie Fry – Treasurer
Awards were presented to many of the clubs members. Awards included:
Rosie Rae Granados
Passport to Manhood:
Ruiz made a pitch to begin a parents program, asking for volunteers to head up a group of parent volunteers to help determine youth needs and develop programs to meet the needs of club members.
The glee club also sang three songs during the presentation, led by youth leader, Lexi Lopez, who accompanied the group on the guitar.
At the conclusion of the presentations, attendees were invited to stay for refreshments and tours.