Teen Center Turned Green Center

Our very own Teen Center has been chosen as the recipient of a 3.51 kW solar array donated by Northwest Electric and Solar as part of the Solarize Bellevue campaign. The campaign is coordinated by the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC) and the City of Bellevue and strives to encourage Washington residents to purchase solar systems for their homes/businesses. Northwest Electric and Solar generously agreed to donate a system to a local non-profit in the event that 30 residences and/or businesses purchased solar arrays. The Solarize Bellevue campaign surpassed its goal of 30 purchases, and asked the community to vote for the winner of the system.  Thanks to all of you who took a moment to vote for our Teen Center!

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Our soon-to-be solarized Teen Center currently serves over 4,000 teens annually and includes a two-building teen complex located in the neighborhood of Lake Hills in East Bellevue. The Lake Hills community is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Bellevue. In response to this rapid growth, we opened a Clubhouse in 2010, in partnership with Microsoft, called the Teen Excellence Center (TXL). TXL is home to our BE GREAT: Graduate drop-out prevention program and Degrees 2 Diplomas, a college preparedness program. In 2012, we opened “The Club” Teen Center – home to our drop-in, Best Buy Teen Tech Center, summer camp, Music Advisory and late night teen programs. Another program we offer, Keystone Club -a youth service group- includes teen members who actively engage the community in service, including green-focused initiatives. As our network of clubhouses and number of kids we serve continues to grow, we are committed to making sure our environmental footprint stays small. The opportunity to solarize our Teen Center sets a great example and provides a wealth of teaching opportunities for our over 4,000 teen members.

We are so thrilled to receive this incredible award. We are looking forward to seeing the increase in environmental initiatives at our Club as a result of this installation!  Special thanks to Solarize Bellevue, PPRC, City of Bellevue and NW Electric and Solar for helping us take our commitment to sustainability to the next level!

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Whole Foods Gives a Taste Thanksgiving

This month one of our awesome partners, Whole Foods Market of Bellevue, invited us to be the recipients of their Taste of Thanksgiving event, which took place on November 6th at their store. For a $5 donation, attendees got a taste of seasonal samplings from their upcoming Thanksgiving items – nine delicious stations of food and beverages spread throughout the store. “Buy a plate, give a plate,” was the phrase Whole Foods team members used to explain how every dollar raised was going to be spent. 100% of last night’s proceeds will go to buying groceries for Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue’s Holiday Meal Program to feed local families in need this Thanksgiving!

We had the opportunity to set up a table at the event so attendees could get more information about our organization and hear about where their donation was going.  We are so grateful to everyone who came out to buy a plate. We saw some old friends and met lots of new friendly faces – it was a great time for all!

Huge thank you to Whole Foods Market of Bellevue for giving the gift of warm, delicious food to families in need this holiday season, and for being such incredible supporters of Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue! At the BGCB, we strive to make it possible for every kid who walks through our Clubhouse doors to have access to programs that will unleash their full potential now and in the future. We are so humbled by the support we receive from the partners in our community – partners who share our mission and help us turn our goals into reality.

 

Photo credit: Erin Downey: Whole Foods Marketing & Community Relations Team Leader

Photo credit: Erin Downey: Whole Foods Marketing & Community Relations Team Leader

Photo credit: Erin Downey: Whole Foods Marketing & Community Relations Team Leader

Photo credit: Erin Downey: Whole Foods Marketing & Community Relations Team Leader

Photo credit: Erin Downey: Whole Foods Marketing & Community Relations Team Leader

Photo credit: Erin Downey: Whole Foods Marketing & Community Relations Team Leader

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Best quote of the night: “I started out buying one plate, but then I tried the food and saw where the money was going – and I had to go back and buy another for my husband!”

 

Great Futures Preschool Thinks “Science Rules” Just as Much as Bill Nye

Early Childhood Education is at the forefront of all parents’ minds when it comes to their child’s brain development. Great Futures Preschool strives to prepare their kids for a variety of activities including emergent reading skills, number and letter recognition, sign language, science and creative arts. With an enriching environment and highly qualified staff, Great Futures Preschool helps build the fundamental social and emotional skills children need for a great future.

Most brain development occurs before a child turns 5, and research shows, can set the course for all future learning. Starting at 2 ½ years, Great Futures Preschool provides a loving, secure environment for a child’s first preschool experience. The separation from parents and the development of a positive bond with the teachers are the primary goals of these classes. The classroom environment is structured to foster the development of the child’s communication and social skills and stimulate them with fine arts and literature to help increase their powers of observation. “Preschool education produces persistent gains on achievement test scores, along with fewer occurrences of grade retention and placement in special education programs. Other long-term benefits of preschool education include increased high school graduation rates and decreased crime and delinquency rates.” (Barnett & Camilli, 2002).

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Increasing S.T.E.M. opportunities for our kids is always at the top of our list, and we feel that Great Futures Preschools takes it to the next level by providing Science Club. Starting at age 3, the main focus of this class is it to teach our kids how to make observations, acquire basic science and math vocabulary, and develop a life-long love of science! Topics of motion and friction are covered through different experiments like creating ramps and rolling different sized objects like tennis balls, golf balls and basketballs in the gym, setting off rockets, dropping parachutes, and measuring how far they can jump, helping them understand the importance of metrics. Chemistry is covered as well by making cabbage indicators and testing the PH of different liquids. The teachers of Science Club have an in-depth knowledge of science, which makes for a more enriching experience.

The leader of Science Club, Pauline O’Rourke has worked at Great Futures Preschool since 2004. She enjoys watching the children grow emotionally and socially throughout the year. “It is always a pleasure to work with the wonderful families who are part of the preschool community at the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue.” Says Pauline.

Pauline grew up in Ireland and started her career in pharmaceutical science. While her children were young, she studied early childhood education. In 1989, Pauline and her husband moved to Bellevue where they have raised their five children. Pauline enjoys gardening, reading and attending her children’s concerts and sports games.

The staff of Great Futures Preschool is inspired everyday by their preschoolers and pride themselves in making sure their kids are fully prepared for kindergarten, the next big milestone in life.