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Children and Families Find Support at the Boys & Girls Club

When the Boys & Girls Club first opened in Lebanon 40 years ago, Kris Latimer was among the first children to walk through the doors. The club, 800 square feet at the time, was just a few blocks from her house.

Now, Latimer is Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam (serving all east Linn County at several locations). The club’s main building is right next to the location that Latimer remembers so well from her childhood, and it’s more than 32,000 square feet - a major hub of support services for local families.

Latimer left a successful career in government to take the helm at the Boys & Girls Club because she believes deeply in what the club does to help local families.

"This year, we opened a program for high school students in Lebanon,” Latimer said. “It was directly involved in preventing two teen suicides. How can you even quantify the value of that?"

With the help of a grant from Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, the club implemented another new program this year, called CARE (Club Advocacy and Resource Events). CARE focuses on children and families in east Linn County, with a special emphasis on those in financial need. Partnering with local soup kitchens, schools and other organizations, CARE refers people to the club after hours for showers and basic hygiene supplies, as well as information and resources to help them find stability.

"Several times during the year we’ve put on CARE nights"€ Latimer said. “We open the club in the evening and bring in homeless families for a movie and other fun activities. We also connect them with key resources that can really help them improve their situations."

Of course, for the 6,000 kids in east Linn County served by the Boys & Girls Club, it’s a safe, fun place to come and be with friends, play games, learn new things and be around positive role models who truly care about them.

"I was really nervous when I came for the first time,” said Lebanon third-grader Summer Ellison. “But the grown-ups here are really nice. I have so much fun when I come, and I learn new stuff!"

 In 2016, Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam:

  • Connected 105 families to the Oregon Health Plan
  • Connected 60 families to partner services
  • Served more than 400 children
  • Provided 50 scholarships to the after-school program
  • Provided 10 scholarships to summer camp
  • Served 375 meals

Learn how the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam is helping local youth get the social supports they need to improve their lives.

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Background image: Lebanon Boys and Girls Club

Other Partners in Supporting Programs and Services for Better Networks:

  • Fish of Albany
  • Lebanon Basic Services
  • Lebanon Public Library
  • St. Vincent de Paul
  • Sweet Home Emergency Ministries
  • Coast Range Food Bank
  • Community Services Consortium - Head Start
  • Family Promise
  • Food Share of Lincoln Count
  • Northwest Coastal Housing
  • Seashore Family Literacy
  • Community Outreach Inc.
  • Albany Helping Hands
  • Soroptimist International 
  • American Red Cross
  • United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties
  • United Way of Linn County
  • Angels Anonymous
  • Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce