Midvale Boys & Girls Club Celebrates 15 Years of Community
Dec 07, 2015 08:47AM
● By Bryan Scott
By Stephanie Lauritzen
Midvale - On Nov. 5, the Midvale Boys & Girls Club celebrated their 15th anniversary, hosting a community party with food, dancing and tours of the club facilities. The club offers children in the Midvale community positive role models, low-cost extracurricular activities such as dance and club sports and a safe environment for students to enjoy after school. Leanne Saldivar, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake, believes that the Midvale organization helps “save kids’ lives by helping families and communities prepare the next generation for success.”
The Midvale club offers a variety of resources for members, including a recording studio for kids interested in developing musical talents, dance classes and access to a full-size gym. Area Director David Leimsieder believes these resources help “fill in the gap” created by funding and resource restrictions occurring in public schools.
“When considering what resources our kids needed the most, we noticed that so many schools are being forced to cut arts and athletic programs. We decided to partner with Canyons School District to provide students with opportunities that the more regimented school curriculums can no longer provide,” Leimsieder said.
In addition to working with local school districts, the Midvale club also works with the Arts Council to bring in artists to work with members, or help students get involved in local theater and dance productions.
“We provide experiences for children whose opportunities might not be as great as some of their peers. Because our program is only $20 a year, we can make an impact in the lives of hundreds of students,” Leimsieder said.
Leimsieder noted that the Boys & Girls Club offers more than extracurricular activities.
“We want to help kids develop positive character and leadership skills, our trained Youth Development Professionals offer mentoring and guidance to students who may be struggling,” Leimsieder said.
Angel Gomez, the teen program director, shares the club’s vision for teaching kids through a combination of extracurricular activities paired with leadership training. Gomez started his career at the Midvale Club at 17, when he began volunteering as part of his community service requirements. At 18, he became the elementary program director, but feels most at home working in his current position as the teen director.
“When you work with teenagers, you can help make things real for them; you guide them through real life decisions, and make a positive impact on their lives,” Gomez said.
Gomez hopes that the club’s ability to offer opportunities to participate in sports and the performing arts will “get the kids to want to be here, making music, creating sports leagues, and learning new talents like dance choreography.”
At the 15th anniversary celebration, friends and families of the Boys & Girls club gathered at the Midvale Club to celebrate with dancing and dinner. Kids performed some of their new choreography from their dance classes, and the staff provided tours to family members interested learning more about club resources. Families and friends of both members and staff ate dinner together, and enjoyed music and games in the gym.
For Saldivar, the evening represented the very best of the Boys & Girls Club values.
“We’ve been doing this for over 25 years, helping families that do their darndest to help their kids, but it takes a village. We’ve created a community-based option for parents who want the best for their kids, but for whom expensive options remain out of reach. We provide those resources, and together, we change lives,” Saldivar said.