Opinion

Island Forum | Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club’s journey to PEAK is almost complete

Jayme Witman
Island Forum

The election is finally over, and although we would be naïve to think that the economic forecast will change dramatically right away, I am suddenly filled with hope for the future. As I tackle my role as the Capital Campaign Director for the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club, the thought of leading the efforts to raise the final dollars needed to break ground on a new club in this challenging financial climate is lofty, if not overwhelming. But then I remember that I am among friends in a place where good people make amazing things happen.

To say we have “met with some rough terrain” on our journey toward the building of a new Boys & Girls Club is an understatement. However, I am pleased to share some good news with the community. We are moving forward.

We have overcome all of the material administrative hurdles that were slowing down the project. We have agreed to the conditions of a long-term lease with the Mercer Island School District, we have obtained our conditional-use permit from the city of Mercer Island, plans are being reviewed by the Design Commission and building permits are in the review process.

Most importantly, thanks in no small part to the generosity of this amazing community, we have secured pledges, donations and commitments of approximately $14.3 million from over 300 donors. That is truly humbling, coming from such a small percentage of the many Islanders who regularly enjoy the Boys & Girls Club.

We now have one last hill to climb. We need to raise $1.8 million dollars by Jan. 31, 2009, to break ground on a new club in the spring of 2009. Every dollar counts, and every family has a place at the Boys & Girls Club PEAK. We have bus drivers contributing to buy a brick, teams are pooling their allowance to donate, grandparents are writing checks as a legacy to their grandchildren, and preschool parents are donating as they see the club as a need in the near future. Every donation matters. Every child in our community needs to feel like a contributor to this new club.

While the future seems uncertain due to a volatile economy, it is hard to think of going to friends, family and colleagues to ask for financial support. At the same time, these are the times that our kids and families need us the most. I am convinced that it is now more important than ever to ensure the future of a safe place where our kids can go and feel like they belong; where they can hang out with friends after school, have a place to make their garage band come to “life” in our new sound studio, or just enjoy shooting hoops, all in a safe place to feel important, included and to learn in a well-supervised environment built just for them.

Check out our new Web site at mipeak.org. Look for PEAK messaging, promotional materials and fundraising opportunities to blanket the Island in the coming weeks. Please help us renew community excitement about this amazing project by making a contribution to this “once in a lifetime” new club for our Mercer Island youth.

Thanks to tremendous persistence and to your continued generosity toward the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club, PEAK will soon become a reality. We need to come together to make this happen, and the time is now.

Islander Jayme Witman is the Capital Campaign Director at the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club.

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