Boys & Girls Clubs of the SLV annual gala supports youth programs
SATURDAY, Oct. 30, on the eve of Halloween, community members came together in their best costumes to celebrate and support our local Boys & Girls Clubs. I had the opportunity to photograph the event but wanted to follow up and share some of the experiences and laughter from the evening. An array of silent auction items, a wonderful dinner, music, a live auction – and of course some apple juggling, since it was a circus-themed event.
I emailed Aaron Miltenberger after the event because we did not have time on Saturday for a more formal interview. Check it out:
Alamosa Citizen: The Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley just had their Annual Gala on Saturday Oct. 30th, how did it go?
Aaron Miltenberger: We had a great time! The opportunity to have over 100 folks come together and be recognized for supporting the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs really showed what a deeply caring and connected community we live in. From corporate sponsors, to individuals, over $65,000 was raised to support the youth of the San Luis Valley.
AC: With this amazing fun-raising and fundraising from the Gala what kinds of projects does the BGCSLV have in store for the upcoming future?
AM: We are committed to serving more youth, more often, with deeper impact. That has meant a lot of different things in the past two years, from food distribution to case management with families to high-impact tutoring and academic recovery, we have been there every step of the way with our youth and families. We have heard the needs across the valley for more support for young people with community based centers and teen spaces. We intend to continue to partner with communities to see these important resources available in all parts of our Valley.
We also have partnered with broad initiatives in broadband support, childcare, and opioid recovery and mitigation efforts because we know how these things impact families and youth. Watch for more support on these initiatives moving forward.
AC: I understand the BGCSLV now has multiple locations. Where are these other locations? And why these spaces?
AM: We recently were awarded a grant through the Colorado Department of Education to provide 21st Century Community Learning Centers with out-of-school time support in areas where academic need was high. We wrote the proposal with our friends in Center School District, Sierra Grande School District and South Conejos School district because they were both ready to support the initiatives and had demonstrated a significant need according to CDE and Healthy Kids Colorado data. We were able to collaborate with existing programs like the Center Youth Viking Club, Blanca/ Ft. Garland Community Center, and Justice Heritage Academy to support initiatives already in place, making sure we were not competing or supplanting current resources for youth and families.
AC: Has this expansion project been a long time in the making? What does this mean for the Valley community?
AM: It really has been a long time coming. In 2016, the Boys & Girls Clubs along with El Pomar and Daniels Fund surveyed the youth in our community and found that more community centers with support for youth, by youth was a consistent theme. We had hoped to apply for this opportunity in 2020, but the process was halted in the fallout from COVID-19. We have a commitment to our communities as the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley to serve the entire SLV. We hope to partner with more communities moving forward in fulfilment of that commitment.
This means more support for youth in out-of-school environments, and high-quality enrichment programs from Outdoor Adventures to Cultural Arts and Technology to Academic Recover. Additionally, it means more jobs and internship opportunities. We have added over 20 new positions and have over 40 employees working as youth development professionals across the Valley.
AC: Where can community members find more information about club activities and after school programs for their kiddos?
AM: Our website is the best source of information: www.bgcslv.org. Or you can follow us on social media – from Facebook to Instagram and LinkedIn. Also, feel free to stop in to any of our sites, in Alamosa, Antonito, Center, Blanca/ Ft. Garland, or our new Teen Arcade on State Avenue and Main Street.