COLUMBIA FALLS — A new leader at Glacier Country Boys and Girls Club in Columbia Falls has some big ideas for helping the club expand in the coming months.
We talked with CEO Mandy Anderson about how funding through the CARES Act is helping the club work towards that goal.
Glacier Country Boys and Girls Club is looking to expand back into the Evergreen area where the club once served kids before shutting down operations years ago due to unforeseen financial circumstances.
New Boys and Girl Club CEO Many Anderson stepped into her new role with the club at the end of December. She says expansion into Evergreen is one of her top priorities.
“Our time-frame right now is to have an after-school program up and running this upcoming fall, so fall 2021 ...the beginning of the next school year,” Anderson said.
Anderson says the club currently hosts elementary programs in Columbia Falls out of the old Episcopal church building across the street from Glacier Gateway Elementary School.
She says the elementary program is currently at capacity with 45 kids while Canvas Church and Columbia Falls High School provide space for after school programming for teenagers.
Anderson says the club is looking at acquiring additional property in Columbia Falls to have all students in one centralized location, "we’re hoping to really move forward with that this year as well."
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Anderson says the club relied heavily on $300,000 worth of CARES Act funding through the state to back-pay expenses, update club safety methods and market future fundraising goals including expansion.
“We had to cancel our main event which was a big loss in funding and so in order to make that up we did do a big marketing campaign, so that way there was awareness that was raised across the valley,” Andreson said.
Anderson says the CARES Act funding also helped the club purchase two new 15-seat vans.
“We have two new vans that we’re able to transport our students around with -- and double the amount of kids,” Anderson said. “We’re able to transport our students around...and also double the amount of kids we’re able to take on field trips and other career-like exploration trips around Columbia Falls and the valley.”
Anderson says the Boys and Girls Club runs after school programs until 6:30 each weeknight. Those who would like to volunteer time or donate funds to the Boys and Girls Club can click here for more information.
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