Clubhouse closures continue

Siblings of the Hodgkinson family on the first day of serving suppers to-go at the Payette Clubhouse on April 1. The program is a work-in-progress with all the safety guidelines, but 60 kids participated.

WESTERN TREASURE VALLEY  — For local youth organizations, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has forced a rethink of how they provide services to kids in need in every community. With the trajectory of the global pandemic remaining upward, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Treasure Valley remain closed. As Chief Executive Officer Dana Castellani explained to the newspaper via email on April 2, the closures are continuing to take their toll on Clubs operations.

“During their last two weeks of employment, our part-time staff were limited to deep cleaning and sanitizing the Clubhouses and participating in safety and program quality training,” Castellani said. “As the realities of the pandemic continue to set in, the Executive Board and I made the difficult decision of laying off all part-time staff members temporarily until we are able to reopen to our community in need. Full-time staff members are working on emergency funding to maintain our basic operations.”

In a letter to stakeholders, Castellani said it is likely that the Clubhouses may remain closed until summer.

“Despite this challenge, we are working to provide free supper, virtual programming, and some basic program supplies ‘to-go’ for our kids in order to provide key services  that are much needed in our Ontario and Payette communities,” said Castellani.

Club events, such as the Payette Community Breakfast and Boots & Blues are postponed “until the time is right for us to get together,” according to Castellani.

She added via email that part-time workers have been encouraged to apply for unemployment in their respective home states.

“As far as bringing everyone back, it is my ultimate goal to reopen at our normal full capacity (so yes, I would need everyone). This may depend on any future guidelines and restrictions that we would have to follow.”

Castellani reminds the public that the ‘Great Futures 2020 fundraising campaign is still on, seeking 5,000 donors to contribute $5 per month to raise sustainable funds.

“Our kids need our outreach services today and will need us more than ever when we reopen. If you are able to, please join us.”

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