| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – If you’re a “club kid,” the Springfield Boys & Girls Club wants you to come home.
The club will be celebrating its 125th anniversary with a special dinner on Sept. 22 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the club at 481 Carew St.
Interim Executive Director David Ross explained the club kept the cost to just $10 a ticket to encourage people to come to what he called more of a celebration than a fundraiser.
Ross hopes that club alumni as well as corporate and community partners, staff current club members and donors will come to the event. The special guest speaker will be Jim L. Clark, the president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Ross explained the Springfield club is one of the oldest in the nation having been founded in 1891. The Hartford, CT, club was the first, having been founded in 1860.
The club offers a variety of programs from a drop-in after school program at its Carew Street location, as well as one in Indian orchard to a licensed school-age child care service to a summer camp and a Saturday drop-in center for children – the only one in the city.
Last year, the club renovated its movement room through a grant from District Attorney Anthony Gulluni to conduct its yoga, ballet and music programs. With support from Babson Capital Management, Lowe’s and Rent-a-Center the club also developed a new tech center.
In a documentary that former “club kid” Marty Gallagher helped produced in 1991 for the club’s centennial, the evolution of the club was detailed from humble beginnings in rented space to a building of its own that served several generations of the city’s youth at the corner of Ferry and Chestnut streets – which no longer exists. That building was partially damaged by fire in 1964.
The film detailed how the mission of the club was to provide a constructive place for boys to get “off the street” to both play and learn.
Among the “club kids” alumni are Sheriff Michael Ashe and Congressman Richard Neal.
For ticket and sponsorship information, call 785-5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be found at www.sbgc.org/125th-anniversary-celebration.