Tag Archives: metlife foundation


BGCGS's Red Mountain Branch Nationally Recognized For Program Excellence

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s (BGCGS) Red Mountain Branch recently received the prestigious Merit Award for Program Excellence in Health & Life Skills from Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The award was presented during Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 106th National Conference in San Diego, Calif.

Merit Awards for Program Excellence, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, are presented annually for outstanding programs developed and implemented in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country to lead youth to a great future.

The Red Mountain Branch received the award based on the Club’s programming held with the Salt River Department of Corrections.  Yes, Department of Corrections.

In 2005, the Salt River Department of Corrections in conjunction with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale decided to buck the status quo and no longer settle for mediocrity. These two entities teamed up and put into place a rehabilitative model that not only places the emphasis on education, life skills and socialization, but also a model that allows officers to be officers, teachers to be teachers and all parties involved to do the job that they are trained and qualified to do.

According to James Short, Department of Corrections supervisor, the Salt River Department of Corrections Boys & Girls Club Program is the first full-time Boys & Girls Club site located inside a correctional facility in Indian Country. This program was created to complement and enhance the overall rehabilitation process in the juvenile corrections facility.

“The program runs in conjunction with the correctional education rotation and offers a number of health, recreation and life-skill classes that will allow the juvenile detainees to acquire the tools that are necessary for a successful transition from the institution back to the community,” Short says. “This program is not only providing the youth with solid, proven Boys & Girls Club curriculum but it is also helping with academic credit recovery.”

With the help of the Salt River Department of Education, the juveniles that participate in the Salt River Department of Corrections Boys & Girls Club programs will receive high school elective credit.

“The long-term goal of this program is to significantly decrease the community’s juvenile recidivism rate by helping these youth, once released from custody, transition into our community clubs and programs or transition to a job or post-secondary education,” says Brian Yazzie, director of Native American services at the BGCGS.

The recognition comes with a $2,000 award. Red Mountain was chosen from hundreds of submissions from the more than 4,000 branches nationwide.

“Receiving this award is a wonderful moment and milestone for our Red Mountain Branch, club staff and our wonderful community partners who work very hard making this program a success for our youth,” Yazzie says.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Native American communities working together to serve youth. Today, more than 200 Clubs are on Native American lands.

In addition to the Red Mountain, the BGCGS also have a Lehi Branch, which is on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Reservation along with Red Mountain, and the Peach Springs Branch, which is on the Hualapai Reservation.

For more information about the BGCGS, visit bgcs.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale

Boys & Girls Clubs Of Greater Scottsdale Scores No. 1 Status

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Vestar Branch has been chosen from nearly 4,000 chartered clubs as the top branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). The award was recently given to the Vestar Branch at the nonprofit’s national conference held in San Diego earlier this summer.

“This award is a tremendous honor,” says Caitlin Sageng, Vestar branch director. “It is also a direct reflection of how hard our staff works every day to make sure our youth receive the programming they need to reach their full potential.”

The award was given to the Vestar Branch as determined by entries submitted in each of BGCA’s five core program categories: character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation.

The Vestar Branch’s main programming objectives are to empower youth to better themselves, their club and the community. Some of the different programs that provide varied and unique opportunities for their members include:

Adopt-a-Family: Supports more than 91 kids and parents in need at the organization.
Primal Fitness program: Reinforces members’ fitness knowledge and nutrition levels.
The Keystone Club: This teen group focuses on community service, including volunteering monthly at a local food bank and assisting with homeless shelters.
Power Hour: An academic program that helps youth reach their educational potential and set goals throughout the school year.
Drama Club: Encourages club members’ self-esteem by performing plays like “Alice in Wonderland” during summer programming.
Center for Telepresence: Through this high-tech center, youth can connect, communicate and learn from experts around the world in a variety of fields.

“We feel the best way to make the Vestar Branch successful in our community is by offering quality programs to youth and maintaining a positive connection between members and staff,” Sageng says. “These relationships transcend through all programs and keep members coming back more and most importantly, allow us to have a lasting impact.”

In July 2007, the Vestar Branch opened in the Desert Ridge community, serving more than 8,300 families in and around the northeast Phoenix area. This 27,000-square-foot facility offers all members ages six to 18 a Phoenix Suns-sponsored gymnasium, a state-of-the-art learning center and Thunderbirds Charities Center for Telepresence program, a fun and innovative science education program. Youth ages 13 to 18 also have access to a 6,000-square-foot Lamb Family Teen Center.

In addition to the award, the Vestar Branch also received a $5,000 award from MetLife Foundation, sponsor of the awards program, which honors local Clubs for innovative, effective programming.

This is also the second time a Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Branch has been given the honor; the organization’s Virginia G. Piper Branch also received the award in 2009. Named after a longtime supporter of youth services in the Scottsdale area, the Virginia G. Piper Branch opened in Scottsdale Ranch in 1991. Today, the Clubhouse is one of the highest-membership facilities operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. In December 2010, construction began to renovate the Piper Branch, which now offers a full-service Teen Center that opened in May 2011. The organization’s administration offices are also located next door.

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Through programs that focus on empowering older adults, preparing young people and building livable communities, MetLife Foundation help increase access and opportunities for people of all ages. Since its founding, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $530 million in grants to nonprofit organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. For more information, visit metlife.org.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, please visit bgcs.org.


Region Chosen For National Pilot Project On Aging

The MetLife Foundation and Partners for Livable Communities has selected the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the Greater Phoenix region to participate in the City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place, a new national pilot project striving to help people aged 65 years and more to live independently in their homes. The region was chosen as just one of five areas in the country to develop strategies over the next year that will help seniors age in place.

Penny Cuff, vice president for programs with Partners for Livable Communities, said the region was chosen based on its track record of innovative work in aging services. “The Greater Phoenix region is recognized as being a leader in meeting the needs of older adults. Recent achievements like the MAG Municipal Aging Services Project reflect a commitment to care for people as they age.”

The Municipal Aging Services Project, sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, developed a tool kit local governments can use when considering services for people aged 65 years and more. Extensive community engagement with more than 1,300 seniors reflected a keen desire to live independently in their homes, or age in place. Participants also expressed deep concern about the recession’s impact on their ability to remain in their homes.

The Institute will address these concerns by developing new strategies to help people age in place more successfully. Partners for Livable Communities will aid the region by recruiting national experts to assist the region throughout the next year. A regional, multidisciplinary team of local leaders will also guide the work of the Institute over the next year.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is a member of the team. “In the City of Phoenix and throughout the region, we have successful programs and services in place to serve older adults. Dramatic increases in the population and their diverse needs will affect what assistance is needed and how it can most effectively be given. I have been meeting with older adults to determine what we can do differently. Ensuring people can remain safe and healthy in their homes is one of my key priorities,” said Stanton.

Local funders share this priority as well. Carol Kratz, program director with the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and a member of the Institute’s team, emphasizes the need for strategic investments. “It has been a challenge to fully meet people’s needs due to economic conditions and increased demand for services—but business as usual is not an option. We need to be smart as funders and diligently look for new models that can meet needs more effectively,” said Kratz.

Mary Lynn Kasunic, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging, Region One, also sees the benefit of considering new ways of meeting needs, particularly in partnership with the community. “This Institute can help us determine a new model, one that engages older adults as part of the solution. They are often overlooked resources in our community,” she said.

Michelle Dionisio, president of Benevilla, a private nonprofit agency in Surprise, notes the benefits of engaging older adults to help meet needs. “Our more than 770 volunteers are the lifeline we have with the community,” she says. “Every day, people’s lives are better because of the assistance people give to their neighbors. We are going back to how we used to take care of each other. Meeting people’s needs is not just the responsibility of government or nonprofit agencies. It is everyone’s responsibility.”

Other communities participating in the City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place include San Diego, Miami, Arlington County in Virginia, and Montgomery County in Maryland.