Boys & Girls Club celebrates 80th anniversary

140

Boys & Girls Club celebrates 80th anniversary
The Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest has been at the former Mitchell School on Pleasant Street since 1983. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

MARLBOROUGH – For the past eight decades, the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest on Pleasant Street has provided youngsters a chance to play, learn and grow.

Over the years, the club has undergone several changes in name and location, but the mission remains the same, according to President and CEO Chris Duane, “to be open to all kids who need us.”

There’s something else that hasn’t changed – the annual membership fee.

Duane said the fee – $25 – has been in place for 30 years; the fee covers full access to all club programs and activities in Marlborough, Hudson and Framingham.

Those programs “tend to grow with the times,” said Duane, who’s been with the club since 1996 (she was with Girls Inc. when it merged with the Boys & Girls Club).

Best known for sports and fitness, the club has an active STEM program, including a “tech camp” in the summer.

In 1944, the Marlboro Boys Club Inc. opened in a rental hall in the old Hunter Block on Main Street, and two years later, the club was chartered as a member of the Boys & Girls Club of America and moved to a new location on Mechanic Street.

By 1954, the club collected $15,000 to use as a down payment for a new building on Rawlins Avenue. There, the club remained until 1983 when the board of directors voted to sell the building and purchase the vacant Mitchell School on Pleasant Street, which is their present home.

In 1991, the club’s name changed to Marlborough Boys & Girls Club Inc., and five years later, Marlborough Boys & Girls Club merged with Girls Inc. The Greater Marlborough club merges with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson and the Hudson Youth Center to form the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest in 2000.

Boys & Girls Club celebrates 80th anniversary
Games, including pool, have been part of the Boys & Girls Clubs since the beginning. (Photo/Courtesy)

The Hollis Street clubhouse in Framingham opened in 1996, focusing on serving middle school students; the organization became the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Marlborough.
In 2022, the Yawkey Foundation helped fund renovations to the Marlborough club’s STEM room.

“It’s so much more comprehensive” than basketball and a games room, said Laura Terzigni, the club’s vice president.

Long before the phrase became popular, Duane said the club has focused on the children’s social, emotional and mental well-being.

“It’s youth development, not child care,” she said.

The club offers academic help, including “lots of hands-on science experiments,” said Terzigni.

For middle schoolers, the club offers classes in financial literacy and career exploration.
Currently, the club serves 600 children in grades 1-12 in Marlborough, Hudson and Framingham. It also oversees before- and after-school programs in Marlborough.

“We have a great partnership with Marlborough Public Schools,” said Duane.

Online program registration may be done in Spanish or Portuguese, and most of the club staff is fluent in Spanish and/or Portuguese.

The club receives support from public and private donations, including some government funding and support from the United Way.

Boys & Girls Club celebrates 80th anniversary
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Marlboro merged with Girls Inc. in 1996. (Photo/Courtesy)

Hall of Fame Breakfast

To commemorate the 80th anniversary, the Boys & Girls Club of MetroWest will host its annual induction breakfast celebration on Thursday, May 16, at 7:30 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough.

The event will feature an induction ceremony into its hall of fame, honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to the organization and the youth it serves. The 2024 inductees are William Parks, Jeff Stupik, Ken Vonasek, Gayle Vonasek and the Ron Young Memorial Award recipient, Paul Connor.

The hall of fame inductees represent a diverse group of community members who have dedicated their time and resources to the club’s mission. These individuals, many of whom are alumni or long-time supporters, exemplify the positive impact the club can have on a person’s life.

For tickets to the hall of fame breakfast, please visit www.bgcmetrowest.org/hall-of-fame.
The club is also calling on all past members and supporters to share their memories as the club creates a video celebrating its rich history. Photos, newspaper clippings and even short video testimonials are all welcome. These will be showcased at the annual gala celebration on Oct. 17 at the Verve Hotel in Natick.

To submit your memories, go to https://forms.gle/Gv3efTA9SBxLQA8r5

No posts to display