West of Market June Sponsor Spotlight

written by Mikaela Cowles on September 12, 2014 in Mikaela in Print with no comments

The Kirkland Boys & Girls Club – Helping Kids Grow

Don James Classic
Kids were playing hot lava monster on the jungle gym and soccer in the grass when I arrived at the Kirkland Boys & Girls Club. Inside, a group of boys were huddled around a pool table watching the final shots of a game with rapt attention. There were teens in the computer lab working and two small girls sitting together reading.

The sight was not uncommon to Kirkland’s club director, Bridget Powers. Keeping her kids mentally and physically engaged is a priority. She explained:

One thing is for sure – whether a kid is here as part of our after school program or to participate in one of our camps – they will not be sitting in a chair and staring into a smart phone for three hours. That’s just not going to happen here.

What does happen is learning, activities and fellowship. Boys & Girls Clubs throughout King County aren’t just a place for kids to come. They’re a place for them to grow.

“We take our mission statement seriously,” said King County Boys & Girls Club resource development officer, Meg Diemer. “To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens, is something we’re passionate about.”

Their after school program includes a full hour of supervised homework time where students have access to help when needed. Their summer camps feature a healthy dose of fun and games partnered with mental stimulation. The club’s athletic department offers a wide variety of organized team sports ranging from soccer and basketball to flag football and t-ball.

And, they do it on a shoestring budget. “A club membership is just $36 a year. That doesn’t cover a whole lot,” said Bridget. Nearly everything, from turning on the lights to providing after school snacks, is covered by donations. 

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do for the kids in the community without the community’s support. It’s absolutely vital,” said Meg.

One of their biggest supporters is Cobalt Mortgage. “The folks there are amazing. Year, after year they step up to the plate,” Meg told me.

The Kirkland Boys & Girls Club spearheads one of the biggest fundraisers of the year, the Don James Golf Classic. As the Presenting Sponsor, Cobalt Mortgage helps the Club secure additional sponsors and promote the event. “It’s not just the financial support which they provide. It’s the incredible time commitment they make to helping us develop and promote our event that’s so special,” said Meg.

Held at the Newcastle Golf Club, tickets to the Classic include: green fees with cart, driving range buckets, lunch, cocktail hour and a live auction dinner banquet.

Last year, the event raised more than $230,000. All proceeds from the event help fund the general management and operations of the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County Kirkland Branch.

As the name would suggest, the Classic was first quarterbacked by the legendary University of Washington football coach, Don James. “In the past, he came to every Classic and regaled people with stories. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to be with us last year due to medical complications.” Bridget said.

October 20, 2013, Don passed away at 80-years-old. His presence will be sorely missed. But, The Dawgfather’s memory will live on through the incredible support his fundraiser provides.

The 2014 Don James Golf Classic is slated for Friday, September 5. Sponsorship opportunities and tickets are still available. For more information, contact Meg.

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