Wenatchee World

Brewster after-school club gives students a sanctuary — Next stop, East Wenatchee?

Story published in The Wenatchee World Jan. 22, 2016.

NCW — Tim and Jennifer Isensee have taken their two sons to the Brewster Boys & Girls Club since its grand opening in March.

Since then, the family has seen changes to their 11- and 8-year-old boys’ manners, friendships and self-esteem.

I wish that all children in the town could go because, I mean, it’s only $30 for a whole (school) year, which is nothing,” Jennifer said, “and I’ve seen a lot of kids with their confidence boosted and being more active.”

The Snohomish County Boys & Girls Club has helped keep the Brewster club financially stable after the Carlton Complex Fires, director Brian Paine said. Once the Brewster club is able to fully recover from the fires, becoming self-sufficient, a regional, multi-million-dollar Boys & Girls Club facility could come to the East Wenatchee area.

I can’t wait to bring this to the Wenatchee Valley,” Paine said. “We’re so close to doing some really great things … I’m over-anxious all the time.”

This could be two to three years out. A corporate sponsor is already lined up, but he wasn’t able to name them. It could cost anywhere from $3 million to $5 million, he said.

The club has already seen high attendance in Brewster, averaging between 50 and 100 children between ages 5 and 18 each day after school. The Brewster Boys & Girls Club has more than 250 registered members, Paine said.

The mission of the club is to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” Paine said. “The whole premise of Boys & Girls Club is to be open when school’s not open.”

According to statistics provided by Paine, 86 percent of Washington alumni said the Boys & Girls Club helped them graduate from high school.

We thought it was a good avenue rather than coming home, sitting on the couch, watching TV, or going to daycare,” Jennifer Isensee said. “My kids don’t want to come home … they tell me, ‘Can you come pick us up at 6 when it closes?’”

The club offers specific programs, such as Passport to Manhood, for kids of various ages. Paine said the club focuses on a fun learning environment, being a safe place with quality people, facilities and equipment.

When you provide those things for kids, kids will want to be a part of it,” he said.

To donate to the club, Paine can be contacted at 509-689-1192 or by email at bpaine@bgcsc.org. Donations are also accepted online at bgcsc.org by selecting the Brewster club through the Snohomish County club’s site.

What we’re about to do is a game-changer,” Paine said. “I’m excited about it.”