By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — The Boys & Girls Club of Sidney has received a $12,500 donation from JCPenney’s charitable-giving program to further its More Members More Often initiative.
“It’s a fantastic gift,” Patricia Tyrell, executive director of the Sidney club said. “Thanks to the generosity of JCPenney customers and associates, our club will continue to provide the necessary after-school support and services to more than 240 club members each year.”
The initiative focuses on attracting more young people to join and also to motivate current members to increase their participation and retain memberships longer, a media release said.
Throughout the month of July, JCPenney invited customers to support Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide by rounding up their purchases, both in-store and online at jcp.com, to the nearest dollar, the release said. The difference was donated to Boys & Girls Clubs, and the jcp cares campaign raised almost $950,000 for clubs across the country.
This cooperative fundraising program helps cover membership costs for children who otherwise may not be able to afford the cost of attending a local club, a JCPenney release said.
Kate Coultas, JCPenney spokeswoman, said the total raised was forwarded to the national Boys & Girls Club office, which made decisions about funding individual clubs. The retailer has been working with the charity for about 10 years, she said.
Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe place for children to learn and grow, and programming designed to develop future leaders. The clubs offer education, career, leadership, character development, and sports and recreation.
Founded in 1989, the Boys & Girls Club of Sidney has been providing after school and summer programming to area youth between the ages 5 and 19. The club’s mission is “to develop and enhance the educational and social skills of area youth, including those that need us most, to realize their potential for a successful future and to become contributing members of their community,” according to the release.
The programming includes homework help, arts and crafts, sports recreation, a cooking club, teen book club, technology, character development and community service, among other activities.
Tyrell said the Sidney club’s budget is about $80,000 annually. Membership costs $10 annually for each child, she said, but the cost isn’t within reach to some families, especially if they have more than one child participating.
The JCPenney’s donation will help the club reach children in the area covered, which includes Sidney, Sidney Center, Bainbridge, Masonville, Unadilla, Afton, and Franklin, Tyrell said. The club was required to submit an application for the funding.
Part of the More Members More Often Program is Club 105, which encourages participation, Tyrell said. Children attending programs 31, 52 and 105 days in a calendar year are recognized with awards, such as a backpack, T-shirt or hooded sweatshirt.
“The kids are amazing,” said Tyrell, who started as executive director in July.
“We are so grateful to the community for continuing to support the important work we are doing in our club after-school each day,” Tyrell said in the release.