B&G Club Gift Telmate Argus (1)ONTARIO — The Boys & Girls Club of the Western Treasure Valley is preparing for its 2016 GREAT Futures Campaign to help raise money to invest in local kids’ futures.

The organization has announced its goal of raising $100,000 by March 31 through the campaign. According to a news release from the organization, the money will go to supporting programs for youths between first and 12th grade after school and during the summer. The programs provide positive, character-building opportunities as well as mentors to inspire them to avoid “risky behaviors that can derail their lives,” the news release states.

“The club is changing lives and these kids are worth the investment,” said Kevin O’Neil, the 2016 GREAT Futures Campaign chair. “In my line of work I see so many guys locked up because they didn’t have good role models like they get at the club.” O’Neil is also the president of Telmate, an inmate telecom service provider.

According to Matt Sorensen, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, O’Neil is issuing a challenge to the community for the campaign. Sorensen said O’Neil has $10,000 designated for the campaign and he will use that to match donations made. For those who have donated before, O’Neil is encouraging them to increase this year’s donation by $500, which he will match dollar-for-dollar. For those first-timers, donations of $1,000 or more will be also be matched dollar-for-dollar. O’Neils matches will continue until all of the $10,000 has been used, Sorensen said.

Sorensen will make a presentation during the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting at noon Monday. The meeting will be in the County Kitchen Wilderness Room at the Chamber. Sorensen will share some of the highlights from the club’s efforts in 2015, as well as information about the club’s youth resiliency strategy, which is new to the organization.

“The people kids spend their time with when they’re not in school directly affects their future,” Sorensen said. “Kids deserve a club. We know that kids will find something to do if they are bored, and we shouldn’t complain if we don’t help them by giving them a place like the club. By investing in the GREAT Futures Campaign you are telling kids, we believe in you.”

Last year, the GREAT Futures Campaign met a goal of raising $75,000 for the organization. In addition to getting new technology for youths to utilize, the money from last year’s campaign went toward serving more kids and serving them on non-school days, including during spring and summer breaks. The campaign also carries the overarching goal of making the organization more sustainable for the future.

“Without making sure we have resources necessary to be open both today and in the future, we cannot help impact the lives of hundreds of deserving kids,” according to a statement on the organization’s website.

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