In 2009, the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield celebrated 50 years of outstanding service to children in and around Garfield, New Jersey. Making this possible were the founders, board members, volunteers, community leaders, staff and alumni who commit themselves to ensuring that all club members receive opportunities at this wonderful place.
The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield is to inspire and enable all young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The Garfield facility is part of a national network of more than 4,000 neighborhood-based facilities encompassing the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This organization serves more than 4.6 million young people annually in all 50 states and on United States military bases worldwide. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old. Programs are conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize leadership development, education, career exploration, financial literacy, health, life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation, and family outreach.
Fifty years ago, the founding members of the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield had a vision and dream: to build a club that would provide hope and opportunity to young people. The founders worked together to build an institution that would be the center of all youth activities in the area. The facility that was built then is the one that is still used today. It houses activities such as basketball, wrestling and volleyball as well as a summer camp, afterschool tutoring sessions, job readiness opportunities, teen leadership programs and more. Board members and visionaries dreamt of creating a place for the children of Garfield to swim, and in 1980 a pool was built that is touted as the greatest swimming facility in Bergen County.
The financial and volunteer support for the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield’s board of trustees began with the founding members— and it continues today. This is illustrated by the continued growth of the institution and its enduring vision for helping the community’s youth.
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield Coaches Association are dedicated volunteers who continually support the mission of the club. The staff has consistently made it one of the top clubs in New Jersey. The staff works tirelessly to ensure the club has the best special events, education programs, leadership clubs, summer camp activities and afterschool programs. Because of the outstanding success of the club staff, the Garfield club is one of only two clubs in New Jersey to have a National Youth of the Year honor.
Tens of thousands of members have passed through the doors of the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield. These individuals have had great accomplishments as youth members and as adults. An increasing number of club alumni are graduating from high school and attending college. Successful alumni include doctors, lawyers, teachers and professional football players. Wayne Chrebet, formerly of the New York Jets, Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys and Luis Castillo of the San Diego Chargers all fondly recall their experiences at the club. Many Garfield Club alumni have returned to the club to become involved as members of the board of trustees, volunteers, coaches, friends and donors.
The work of many committed people has led the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield to be the “place to be” for so many young people. The club has rededicated itself to helping the people who need it most.
For more information on the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield, call (973)478-7662 or visit bgcgarfield.org.