Midvale Boys & Girls Club honors its 2019 community partners of the year
Apr 29, 2019 08:59AM
● By Sarah Morton Taggart
Members of the Midvale Police greet youth participants after receiving a Community Partner of the Year Award from the Midvale Boys & Girls Club. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)
By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]
They sat on the floor, wiggling and whispering to each other. But when a group of police officers filed to the front of the room, they had the kids’ full attention.
As part of National Boys & Girls Club Week, which took place April 8-12, the Midvale Club honored two community partners that have made a difference in the lives of participating youth: the Midvale Precinct of the Unified Police of Greater Salt Lake and Alliance Data/Comenity Capital Bank. The decision of who gets the award is up to the staff and directors of the Boys & Girls Club, but it was clear from the way their eyes lit up that the kids agreed.
Evan Taylor, club director of the Midvale Club, explained the purpose of the award to the youth. “We would not have a Boys and Girls Club if we didn’t have community partners.”
The first award honored Chief Randy Thomas, Jason Norton, Javier Chavez, Morgan Matthews, Andrea Dirker, and Kent Kobayashi with the Unified Police Department’s Midvale Precinct for their caring and attention to the need for safety at the club.
“They prioritize club issues and when chaos in the community is very close to the club they make sure that we have everything we need to be safe. The detectives and Chief Randy Thomas are very accessible and our club can rely on them at a moment’s notice, which means a lot to the parents that send their kids to our safe space every day,” said Taylor. “The interactions they have with kids and staff at the club are really positive and meaningful and our community partnership is incredibly valuable.”
Alliance Data/Comenity Capital Bank was also honored for their contributions to the club in the form of donated money and time. As part of their Fast Pitch program, bank employees came to the club to talk to the fifth graders about using entrepreneurship to help solve problems in the community.
The youth were divided into four groups, each coming up with an issue they wanted to tackle, like anti-bullying or sustainability. With guidance from the bankers, the youth devised plans and created budgets. They then traveled to the Alliance Data/Comenity Capital Bank office and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. One plan to save endangered animals involved a giant glass dome to keep the humans out and required a several million dollar budget line item for Windex.
“It was a lot of fun getting to know the kids,” said Julie Buchholz, Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) officer for Comenity Capital Bank. “It got them out of the club and into the business world. They were asking so many questions.”
After receiving the award, each community partner shared a memory or story. Officer Chavez participated in Boys & Girls Clubs when he was young. Sam Roberts, a senior manager at Comenity Capital Bank, was also a “club kid” for many years and was awarded a college scholarship through his local club.
The Midvale Club is one of seven locations in Greater Salt Lake that offer positive alternatives to children and teens after school and during the summer. The purpose of Boys & Girls Clubs is to encourage youth to make healthy choices, build strong character and succeed academically and also empower members of the community to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
“For us as bankers, it feels special to impart our knowledge on kids at a young age and teach them something to aspire to,” said Buchholz.