Editor's Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help. Charities can still email email@example.com with attention to Holiday Wish List, include name, contact information and a few needs.
The Boys & Girls Club branch on the 300 block of West Court Street in Pasco welcomes about 50 kids and teens on an average day.
They get everything from healthy snacks and exercise to time for homework and education programming. Plus, they have fun.
And another place to belong.
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"Many times (club sites) are described by young people as a home away from home. That's the feel you want clubs to have -- to be a family," said Brian Ace, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties.
But the club site on Court Street -- known as the Bobbie Littrell Branch -- is running low on supplies. Items from sports equipment to books and furniture top the holiday wish list.
The site has been a club location for years. But last summer, it changed from a teen center to a traditional site, serving younger kids -- starting at age 5 -- along with teens. That's brought more youths through the doors, but it's also left club staffers in need of more and different items.
Art supplies, for example, are desired -- everything from paint brushes, tempera paints and water colors to construction paper and child scissors. "The kids love painting and coloring and all of that stuff, which is not something teens were really into," said branch director Carli Sligar.
Sports equipment also is in demand. The branch could use basketballs, soccer balls, volleyballs and a volleyball net, Sligar said.
"We maybe have three good basketballs, one good soccer ball. Those things get used so often ... we go through them really fast," she said.
Other items on the wish list include school supplies, such as pencils, markers, crayons and book bags; storybooks in English and Spanish; board games and Lego bricks; table games such as foosball and air hockey; furniture, especially folding chairs and tables that can be stacked and moved; and cash and gift cards that can be used by staffers to purchase supplies.
The Bobbie Littrell Branch is one of 11 Boys & Girls Clubs locations around Benton and Franklin counties.
Like the other sites, it does more than just provide child care.
Staffers there work to help their charges achieve academic success, adopt healthy lifestyles and be good citizens of strong character. It's a safe and caring place, Sligar said.
"We genuinely care, and we want (our youths) to succeed," Sligar said.
To donate, call the club at 543-9980, go to www.kidexpert.org or stop by the Bobbie Littrell Branch at 333 W. Court St.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald