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Boys & Girls Club marks 40 years of serving SCV

Local Commentary

Posted: April 5, 2008 4:25 a.m.
Updated: June 6, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
It all started in 1860, when three women in Hartford, Conn., decided to take in some "street urchins" - undernourished, dirty-faced young boys with little more than ragged clothes on their backs, the hard-luck, forgotten kids of the Industrial Revolution. They didn't know it then, but these caring ladies were planting seeds of what would become a true American success story. Their idea took root as Boys' Clubs, which soon began to sprout throughout New England and eventually across the nation.

By 1906, 53 independent clubs were operating. The local leaders decided a national federation was needed to further the important mission of reaching out to children in need. They established the Federated Boys' Clubs, which later became Boys' Clubs of America.

Fast forward to 2008. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America - which includes the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley - is a network of 4,000 locations around the nation and on U.S. military bases here and abroad. It is a remarkable tale that truly reflects the very story of America through the 20th century.

Throughout this year, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary in Santa Clarita, we will tell that story - the lives changed and saved, the communities turned around, the kids who conquered overwhelming odds to succeed, the caring individuals and supporters who make it all possible.

As we celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week through today, we pause to thank of the many caring people who make our mission a reality:

* The thousands of dedicated club professionals who devote their lives to guiding our young people every day;

* The countless, generous individuals - club board members, volunteers and donors - who support our work through their selfless commitment of time, talent and treasure n The caring corporations, foundations and government leaders who actively partner with us to reach un-served communities that need the benefits of a Boys & Girls Club;

* The families and parents who, every day, entrust to us America's most precious natural resources: our young people.

We can't wait to begin our second century of providing hope and opportunity, being the positive place for some 4.6 million kids in some 4,000 clubs, and in doing so, changing lives and changing America.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley hopes you will join us in celebrating National Boys & Girls Club Week, a week of hope and opportunity for the entire community.

John Mahaffey is the governing board president of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley. A resident of Canyon Country, he has been an active supporter of the club for more than 10 years.

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