Today’s check in is with Thunderbirds 2021 Tournament Chairman Scott Jenkins and Marcia Mintz, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. Marcia discussed the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, how Boys and Girls Club is responding to the pandemic and what immediate and essential needs they require to continue helping people in need throughout the Phoenix area.
BGCAZ has been the largest and most trusted childcare provider in the Valley for decades. The organization started in 1963 with one club in Tempe and quickly branched into multiple clubs throughout Arizona, providing a safe, positive, and fun environment for their kids’ out-of-school time.
Whether it is during a summer camp, after-school time, or in one of their other enrichment programs, BGCAZ offers unique experiences in the arts, physical fitness, character development, and leadership training. They also provide proven educational programs and academic support — along with plenty of healthy fun and recreation.
Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – has been a long-time supporter of BGCAZ, providing monetary funds for operational and capital needs to serve thousands of at-risk children each year.
“When COVID-19 hit in Arizona and all of the schools shut down, we immediately mobilized our staff and our organization and asked how can we best support vulnerable families here in Arizona,” said Mintz. “We made the decision – with authorization from the Governor’s office and health officials – to open up our clubs to serve the childcare needs of our essential workers including first responders and healthcare workers and anyone who is considered an essential operation in Arizona.”
Mintz explained the change in Boys & Girls Club operations and how school closures have required significant changes to their service models.
“We’ve really had to change how we do business. We consolidated our 27 locations into 11 locations so we can bring staff together and rotate staff to ensure we have the required 1-10 ratio of staff to children. We are also serving two meals and a snack per day,” said Mintz.
One of the challenges BGCAZ is feeling right now is the change in operating hours and how that strains their operations.
“We’re normally an out of school time operation, but were now being asked to stay open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” said Mintz. “That puts a very different strain on our budget and our financials and maintaining our staff ratio has had the biggest impact on us.”
How can you help Boys & Girls Club?
“We are always looking for hand sanitizer and supplies. We’ll take snacks for the kids, but they have to be individually wrapped. We’re also looking for meals for staff and of course monetary donations make all the difference in the world,” said Mintz.
Here’s how to help Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley:
Supplies can be dropped off at the Boys & Girls Club Program Services Center. Staff there will be able to receive the donations at a safe distance and sanitize and distribute goods as needed throughout the 11 open locations.
Boys & Girls Club
4309 E. Belleview St. bldg. 14
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
Visit www.bgcmp.org and look for the option at the top of the screen that says “get involved.”