The Juneau Clubhouse officially closed its doors on Friday. A rush of memories from the past year and a half flooded my mind, of battles won and lost and all that comes with bonding with a remarkable group of kids.
I was shocked and appalled last September in the manner in which the Anchorage Office of the Boys and Girls club handled club closings. These are hard economic times, I won't disagree, but as a community we must not lose faith or the power of being nice.
Juneau is a strong community. I was amazed by Juneau Youth Service and their fast action in keeping the club open and helping over 60 youth during the past four months. Vivan Hegg, a volunteer extraordinaire, knew when to show up to mentor the kids or to help them create a masterpiece. So many community members stepped up to help the club over the past decade, and I have to believe that the club helped hundreds of kids along the way.
It is important that the youth of Juneau feel as if they belong and have a place in our community. Please do not give up in fighting for our youth. Get involved. Mentor, volunteer, support our schools and other youth groups. Just be sure to stay involved. We are in control of our wonderful and unique community.
Thank you to all who helped, from making phone calls and writing letters to donating funds and volunteering. We couldn't have done what we were able to accomplish without your support. A special thank you to my family and the Gemmell's, JYS staff, Vivian Hegg, Jennifer Nebert, Rep. Cathy Munoz, Kendra Kloster, Susan and Nico Bus, Daren Adams and the community of Juneau!
Valley Youth Club