Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan turns 20, faces financial frustrations

Photo by Erin Poppe | The Collegian Gaston Aulestia, an ecuadorian in the Go Teacher program, assists second graders Tyrus Moore and Liyang Tan in labeling U.S. regions Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan's Fifth Street site.

This month, the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan is celebrating its 20th birthday. The organization has spent its past two decades serving over 2,300 Riley County youth, from kindergarteners to high schoolers, between its eight site locations. Along with its intent of being a “positive place for kids,” the Boys and Girls Club staff works to create programs that often cover missing gaps in child education.

Recent changes in funding structure, however, is forcing the organization to alter operations, said Kelly Carmody, director of operations for Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan. The organization will be required to make drastic changes in the following month to survive a lack of governmental financial support.

The Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan is losing a major chunk of its federal funding this year. One of the major federal grants, the 21st Century Fund, is being reduced by $76,000, Carmody said.

“Sixty-two percent of our funding comes from grants,” Carmody said. “If you know anything about this, you know that’s a rough situation to be in. All of your money comes from someone else. In the next three years, we will have a $300,000 deficit.”

The organization plans to counteract the losses in funding with a measure that it has never resorted to before.

“This year, starting in August, we’re implementing membership dues, which we’ve never done before,” Carmody said.

Carmody also said additional changes could include a heavier reliance on volunteers in the future.

One K-State program that provides the Boys and Girls Club with volunteers is K-State’s Go-Teacher program. Melissa Holmes, associate director of the International Programs and Research Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy, said the program provides teachers to assist in teaching and facilitating the after-school activities the Boys and Girls Club puts on.

Holmes said the partnership allows the students who are taking methodology and teaching-strategy classes at K-State to go out into a teaching environment and practice what they’re learning. It also offers the teachers a chance to practice their English with native speakers.

However, the news is not all bad for the the Boys and Girls Club. Hillary Badger, assistant finance director for the city of Manhattan, said city funds for the group did not decline in 2013 from the previous two years. Between the Social Services Advisory Board and the Special Alcohol Committee fund, Badger said the group received a little over $56,000 in 2013.

The funds, Badger said, are highly monitored.

“These advisory boards go out twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, to see how these groups are implementing the funds they had requested,” Badger said. “Then a formal review is conducted.”

While the funding may become harder to come by for the Boys and Girls Club, Carmody said the program will still keep providing programs for the youth of Manhattan.

“This is just giving kids that extra two and a half hours of help and learning and everything they need to be caring kids,” Carmody said.

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.