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!

Teen Center Pic

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!

Solarize Bellevue Thumbnail   City of Bellevue      Final PPRC Logo.ai

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They Call Her Guppy

Katie Schenck has been a part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue for almost seven years. As a kid, she played basketball and soccer and enjoyed the atmosphere so much that she remained involved and became a volunteer staff when she turned 15. Her hard work as a volunteer eventually led to a paid position as a summer camp counselor, where an average work day consisted of taking pies to the face during staff pie eating contests, leading group trips to the beach and dressing up as a Scuba Steve.

When she began, summer camp sessions at our Main Club had only 62 campers. With her guidance and enthusiasm, the program has grown significantly and now averages about 130 campers per week. As recently as 2008, the club had 275 kids that signed up for two-week sessions of summer camp, and last summer it boasted about 400 kids every week at all sites. Much of this is thanks to her love for Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue Summer Camp

  Here’s how a few of our staff members would describe her…

 “Cheerful!  Happy!  Helpful! Smiley!” Melissa Brzusek, Resource Development Coordinator

 “Helpful” Brian Hughes, Tech Coordinator

 “AWESOME-she has the patience of a saint and always is helpful”- Ryan Scott, Vice President/COO

Katie now serves as Membership Coordinator and she is awesome at her job. Whether she’s processing scholarships, tracking membership, or answering questions from parents, her patience and hard work does not go unnoticed. She’s the first person you see in the morning at the front desk, where she starts each day with a smile. Members of the club often share stories with her as if they have been best friends for years. For example, yesterday, our one-time Zumba instructor came to Katie after teaching a tango class and was excited to show off her moves, putting on a performance in the main lobby. “There is never a dull moment here,” Katie says.

When asked where she sees herself in ten years, Katie says that since the club is growing so fast and now offers more opportunities to move up in the organization, she plans to stay indefinitely.

“I do see myself at the club in ten years but if not, then I definitely see myself still working with kids in some way or another.” 

Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue