Photo: Kris Kathmann
Mankato – Boys & Girls Club of Mankato
Five months ago, the culmination of years of hard work and vision by several business and community leaders came to fruition when the Boys & Girls Club of Mankato opened its doors. The need for an organization like this was apparent from day one.
“We currently are serving K-8 grades, and while we do not have geographic limitations, our members are from Mankato and North Mankato. We currently have over 100 members enrolled with about 45 attending each day. We are working on transportation so that we can increase our daily attendance,” says executive director Erin Simmons.
The Club rents the upper level of the St. John the Baptist Parish Life Center. Boys & Girls Club of Mankato, under the leadership of Boys & Girls Club Rochester, has a vision to serve underrepresented youth in the Mankato community. It is dependent on the community embracing the opportunities there.
“We strive to be a place where the community comes together to serve kids. In some instances, such as Girl/Boy Scouts, Girls on the Run and Stride, this means bringing the opportunities to the kids. In other cases such as Bellissimo and author Vickie McLaughlan, it is bringing talent to our kids,” she explains. “With 45 kids in our space everything is consumable which means that we will always be in need of office supplies, art supplies, games, sporting equipment and food. We are also in need of volunteers to support in many ways such as opening the door during our busy time (5-6pm), reading, playing games, shooting hoops or helping kids with homework. We have something for everyone!”
She says the large number they serve already is evidence a program like the Boys & Girls Club is needed in Mankato.
“Roughly one third of the kids in our district are not participating in afterschool activities. The Boys & Girls Club of Mankato gives all kids a place to belong,” says Simmons.
The Club focuses on positive youth development in three key areas of Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Character and Citizenship. Overall, Boys & Girls Club of Mankato will engage youth in the participation of generation changing programs that support a commitment to education, positive values, healthy habits and high expectations for success as an adult.
Donations of supplies, money, and area business or trade expertise is always needed. To find out how you can help, contact Erin Simmons.