GREEN LAKE/RIPON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: Club help keep kids on track

Natural light floods into the windows of the new Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area in the heart of Berlin. It intensifies the bright colors on the walls and the rich hues of the carpet in this lively space that sits on the former site of the old Washington School.

Hannah Bailey loves it.

Pictured: Children play a video game at the new Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area.

If she didn't come to the Club, she says she'd probably sit at home and watch TV. "My mom and dad work, and it's a fun place to stay while they're busy," she says.

Hannah is one of more than 100 children who go to the Club each day - a number executive director Jason Presto expects to grow as the Club attracts more members from Ripon and Green Lake County. His goal is to have 500 members, serving 250 children a day.

"We serve all kids regardless of income," says Presto. "There's a lot out there that can derail a child, and they can all benefit from supportive relationships with adults."


"WE CAN PROVIDE HYGIENE PRODUCTS THAT MAY NOT BE ABLE TO BE PROVIDED AT HOME. OTHERS MAY NOT HAVE ACCESS TO WORKING SHOWERS OR KNOW HOW TO PRACTICE HEALTHY HABITS." - Peggy Henslin, family support aide, referring to the Club's new shower facilities



The Club opened its doors in June 2015 after nearly two years of planning and a $6 million fundraising campaign. The resulting space includes program rooms, a full-size gymnasium, learning center, teen center, football and soccer fields and more. Presto says it allows staff to provide even more programming to aid academic success, build character and citizenship and promote healthy lifestyles.

Support included the largest grant to date from the Green Lake County/Ripon Community Foundation. Through its Basic Needs Fund, the Foundation granted $75,000 over three years for shower/laundry facilities, and $25,000 for the Unmet Needs Program.

Peggy Henslin, family support aide for the Club, says the program and shower/laundry area help ease the financial burden for some members and promote healthy habits.

"Our program ensures that those members not only have the opportunity to practice these habits, but educates them and their families on how to maintain them," she says.

Support the Unmet Needs Program with a gift to the Boys and Girls Club of the Tri-County Area Unmet Needs Endowment Fund

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