As part of its commitment to enrich the lives of children in the community, Draper Valley Farms has awarded a $7,500 grant to help Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County provide at-risk children a foundation for achieving healthy lifestyles.
Through its Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the Draper Valley grant will fund the Boys & Girls Clubs programs, with special focus on Healthy Lifestyles. The Healthy Lifestyles initiative — one of three Priority Outcomes at the Club — engages youth in constructive learning activities that stress the importance of healthy eating, maintaining a balanced diet, practicing self-control when making food choices and decisions, and the importance of pursuing and maintaining habits that are constructive. The other Priority Outcomes programs focus on academic success and good character and citizenship.
“As we are serving at capacity (averaging more than 100 children per day), we see an incredible demand in Mount Vernon for positive, structured programming after-school and during the summer, and we deliver the best programs, with incredible results,” said Angela Freeberg, area director in Mount Vernon. “Partnering with Draper Valley, and our other community supporters, we are able to bring that impact to the kids who need us.”
“For many years, the Boys and Girls Club of Skagit County has been a strong educational and community partner in Mount Vernon and throughout the county,” said Mark Knight, Draper Valley Farms’ director of operations. “We are committed to making a difference in the community through partnerships like this, and proud to continue our support so that area children, including those of some of our own associates, learn the value of a healthy lifestyle.”
As Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Ron McHenry explains, “With the support of Draper Valley Farms, there is a great opportunity to continue teaching our youth about what goes into their food, what is involved in local farming, and what impact a great local business is able to have on the community. Going beyond the short chats about eating a balanced diet, this type of support from Draper Valley enables us to talk forcefully about why our priority outcomes programs matter in the lives of our youth, and in our community.
Healthy Lifestyles ultimately deals with choices and commitments, and what those choices can help the program accomplish. “When we ask our kids what it means to commit to health, they come to understand that the question is much more than just a discussion of food. As we center each of our Club activities to be fun and engaging, but also formative, in terms of their character, skills, and appreciation of the world around them, we establish the focus on how all three outcomes are united, and can lead to incredible results.”
Operating after-school each day, all six Clubs located in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon, and Sedro Woolley, are seeing incredible numbers since the start of the school year, according to McHenry.
“The support from Draper Valley Farms is a great example of how the partnership between local businesses and the Clubs serve the youth, create the opportunity for collaboration, and enable much greater discussion about the different jobs, skills, and demands there are throughout the community.”
About the Boys and Girls Clubs of Skagit County
At the Boys and Girls Clubs of Skagit County, our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Our core belief is that each of our four clubs provides our members a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, life-enhancing programs, character development experiences, and hope and opportunity. The Clubs serve more than 1,600 youth at facilities in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. To learn more about the Boys and Girls Clubs, visit www.skagitclubs.org.
About Draper Valley Farms
Draper Valley Farms has been a Northwest tradition since 1935, and today we remain singularly focused on providing carefully raised, fresh, local chicken to the Northwest. Our brands include DRAPER VALLEY FARMS® organic chicken, RANGER® free-range chicken and DRAPER VALLEY FARMS® no-antibiotics-ever chicken. With farms in Washington and Oregon, a feed mill in Washington and our processing plant in Mount Vernon, Washington, our chicken is raised, locally processed and locally available. To learn more, visit drapervalleyfarms.com.
Both the Sedro-Woolley and Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Clubs lucked out with perfect weather for two consecutive weeks in September for an outdoor Farmer’s Share orchestrated by Helping Hands Food Bank, where Club youth and their families were able to stock up on free fresh vegetables and fruits.
To celebrate Hunger Action Month, Helping Hands Food Bank gathered fresh produce from local farms & grocery stores, such as Viva Farms, Hayton Farms, Ralphs Green house, and more. A bounty of colorful boxes filled with potatoes, carrots, squash, apples, plums, peaches, and broccoli, just to name a few, were arrayed out for kids to select from.
Two WSU Extension staff were on hand representing the Farmers Market Flash program, to talk about nutrition and farmers markets with the kids while making it fun, with prizes, temporary tattoos, and stickers. WSU Extension’s brand new program, Farmer’s Market Flash, is focused on spreading the good news about the Double Up Bucks Program, where SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) dollars are stretched at farmers markets so that families can buy more fruits and vegetables, at no cost extra cost to them. By simply swiping their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card at the information booth, farmers markets will give an additional $2 in Douple Up Bucks for every $2 spent in EBT, to purchase fresh and healthy food. “We believe good, healthy fresh food should be available for everyone, regardless of their economic situation.” said WSU Extension’s Farmers Market Flash Coordinator, Shannon Bachtel.
Club youth were certainly thrilled about the selection to choose from, and especially loved seeing the rows of raspberries at the end. Although, one kid did exclaim “broccoli!” heartily as he added it too his bag. As Club member Michael Worley was busy helping to unload and set up boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables at the Sedro-Woolley Boys and Girls Club, he said he really liked seeing everyone joining together and working toward the same goal. When asked what that shared goal was, he said “Helping get healthy food into people’s homes.”
Rebecca Schlaht, Operations Manager of the Food Bank hopes that these Farmer’s Share events can be expanded and plans to reach more Clubs, more often. “Our goal is to showcase the amazing produce that is available at local food banks,” says Schlaht. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County would like to thank Helping Hands Food Bank and the WSU Extension for putting these Farmer’s Share events together.
Do you have a passion for helping? Do you love to cook? Maybe you really love sharing your interest in photography. Or you would love to help design a youth community service project. If you have a passion for youth, a passion for serving your community, and interest in helping to teach others, we need you! With the return to school, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County are calling all volunteers to come & help make our Club programs great. Open after-school Monday-Friday, from 2:45pm- 6:00pm, our Clubs serve youth ages 6-18. All programs run for 30-60 min, and fall under Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Character & Citizenship. We would love to include you! Contact Katelynn Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 360-419-3723 x8.
More than 15% of children are considered food insecure; they simply do not know when or where their next meal will be. In today’s world, this is simply unacceptable, and this year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County has stepped-up to make sure kids have access to quality, nutritious meals throughout the day. Now a lead agency in the Summer Food Service Program, youth in our summer programs are provided a full Breakfast, Lunch, and hearty afternoon snack. Through a partnership with the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction and United States Department of Agriculture, Clubs will ensure our kids grow their bodies in the same healthy way that we’ve worked to grow their minds for years.
In Anacortes, we have been able to leverage resources that deepen our impact out of our Clubhouse as well. Through a partnership with the Learning & Lunches program, the Club is serving as the central kitchen, preparing meals for our own kids, and those being served at two satellite locations. This creates a scale of efficiency that benefits both our own operations, and that of our partner, allowing us both the opportunity to increase the level of service provided. The results have been significant and immediate, with the Club seeing 66% more youth than last year, while participation in Learning & Lunches has increased an astonishing 233%! This means more than 100 additional youth are being served in Anacortes, at no additional cost to the community.
We are excited that we will be able to carry this initiative forward this fall in new ways as well, with our Clubhouses in La Conner, Mount Vernon, and Sedro-Woolley not only providing snack, but adding dinner as well. When combined with breakfast and lunch at school, we can help eliminate food insecurity in kids throughout our communities.
The weather has been beautiful and Spring is on it’s way. What better way to embrace the sun than to get to gardening?! On Thursday, March 4th Mount Vernon Club kids donned their gardening gloves and began preparing the Club Garden beds for Spring.
With this warm, dry weather, it was a perfect day for kids to pull out weeds and loosen up the soil for Spring planting. Some of the favorites to be planted this year will include peas, lettuce, carrots, and herbs. As part of the Club’s emphasis on Healthy Lifestyles Club kids will have the opportunity to help plant, tend, grow, and eat their garden over this coming Spring and Summer.
This week at the La Conner Club, members made a Chex ReMix during Cooking Club. Here is the recipe so you can try at home with your family.
- 4 Cups Wheat
- 4 Cups Corn Chex Mix
- 4 Tablespoons of butter
- 4 Tablespoons of taco seasoning
- 1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
- Optional Mix-Ins: Pretzels, dried fruit, chocolate chips, peanuts, goldfish crackers.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Melt butter and seasoning together in a mixing bowl then set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. Take the melted butter and seasoning, pour over the dry ingredients and mix all together until well coated. Pour mixture on a large cookie sheet. Spread out evenly on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and heat in oven until melted. Let the Chex Mix ReMix cool off and enjoy!
Cooking Club takes place every Tuesday & Wednesday. For more information about Cooking Club or any of our Targeted Programs that focus on Healthy Lifestyles, please contact the Program Director, Leah Vazquez at (360) 466-3672 or email: email@example.com.
The Cooking Club meets twice a week to learn about different food groups, a balanced diet and of course, how to cook! This week, they dove into cheese, pepperoni, ham, pineapple and more, which can only mean one thing…pizza! Members were each provided with their very own personal pizza crust to top however they wanted. Some ended up as plain cheese pizzas and some had the works. Youth also took this opportunity to get creative and make a design using their toppings.
From flower power to potatoes and tomatoes, these Anacortes Club kids found armfuls of treasure just across the street! Wednesday, September 10th, our kids traveled next door to the Anacortes American’s garden where publisher Jack Darnton helped harvest a bountiful feast for the eyes and dinner table.
Potatoes grown in garbage cans and raised flower beds wreathed in old newspapers illustrated a beautiful lesson in recycling and re-purposing that the kids could literally take home with them.
The Anacortes Boys & Girls Club would like to thank Jack Darnton and the folks over at Anacortes American for a great afternoon! Stop in and see us Monday- Friday from 2:30-6:00pm
Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club member, Brianna, completed a Social Studies service learning project at the Club. Club Through teamwork and communication, members were able to learn the importance of saying no to drugs. Brianna’s teachings included:
- Drug facts
- How to say no to peer pressure
- Creating a life plan without drugs