Press Releases


COLUMBIA BASIN HERALDclick here to see article 


MOSES LAKE — It was a Thanksgiving meal, complete with all the fixings — turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams.

And pumpkin pie. Don’t forget the pumpkin pie.

The diners, all grade school kids from the McGraw Family Clubhouse of the Boys and Girls Club of the Columbia Basin, are filling up the cafeteria at Park Orchard Elementary, some with paper plates a little too full for small hands to hold well.

As one first-grader discovered when he spilled a little gravy on his shirt and pants.

“This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me!” he said as wiped the gravy off with a napkin.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Kim Pope, the newly appointed director of the Boys and Girls Club. “People on our board and people in the community want to provide a meal to kids who may not get one.”

Pope said there was quite a coordinated effort to get this meal — and three others at North Elementary School, Larson Heights Elementary, and Midway Elementary — made. Donated funds bought the turkeys, which were cooked at the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center. Takata donated the hams, and Michael’s on the Lake cooked those.

“Somebody baked 30 pies,” Pope said. “It’s truly a community effort. People who know we are doing this want to help.”

It took about a month of planning, and an intense week of preparation, to make the meal happen.

“I really like doing this. I enjoy planning events. I relish it. I love it,” Pope said. “But I don’t get to take credit for it. Everyone else is working so hard.”

LeeAnn Driesen, who works for the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, said she was happy to come out and dish out baby carrots to grade school kids.

“They sent out an email to the sheriff’s office looking for volunteers, and I thought this would be a good thing to do,” she said.

By: Charles H. Featherstone



COLUMBIA BASIN HERALDclick here to see article


 MOSES LAKE — Who says you can’t celebrate Christmas in October? Likewise, who says you can’t throw on an ugly Christmas sweater, have fun with fellow ugly-Christmas-sweater-wearers and help out a good cause while you’re at it? Displaying their knitted atrocities brought hundreds of people together Saturday night for a common cause – to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club’s auction.Yomara Figueroa is just one of those people who have been helped by the club. Figueroa, who attended the club as a kid and is now a freshman at Washington State University, spoke to the large crowd gathered in the ATEC building at Big Bend Community College and detailed just how big of an impact the auction has on the kids who attend the club.

“Thank you so much for being here. This means the world to all the kids out there. You are changing the lives of millions of children and you don’t even know it. So thank you so much for everything that you do,” Figueroa told the crowd.

From the silent auction to the almost-live auction, raffle and live auction, there were countless ways attendees supported the club financially during the event. Items in the almost-live auction ranged from Seattle Mariners tickets to a WSU fire pit manufactured by students from the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center and even professional grade landscaping services.

In the main event of the night the fast-talking Chuck Yarbro, of Chuck Yarbro Auctioneers, enticed the crowd to bid on high-dollar items such as a fishing trip for two on the Grande Ronde River and golfing at the Coeur d’Alene Golf Course and a one-night stay for four at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Attendees were constantly reminded that whatever money they pledged is going to a good cause and will be used in such a way that not even a penny is wasted. The auction is the biggest fundraiser the club does and raises tens of thousands of dollars annually to support the club’s many different endeavors. Boys and Girls Club Chief Professional Officer Kim Pope noted the main goal of the club is for the kids to leave the club feeling better than when they came.

“Every child that leaves the Boys and Girls Club at night, I want them to go to bed and think this is the best place, the best time that they had and made me feel good about myself. And everything that we do is focused on that,” Pope told the crowd.

The amount raised during the event was not immediately available.

By: Richard Byrd



COLUMBIA BASIN HERALDclick here to see article 


MOSES LAKE — Kim Pope says she was a shy kid.

“You wouldn’t know it now,” she said.

And it’s true. Pope, who will start as the new chief professional officer — executive director — of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin on Oct. 3 is outgoing and talkative. And not at all shy.

“I worked really hard to change that aspect of myself,” she said. “I knew I would be miserable if I didn’t.”

She comes to the Boys and Girls Club after 35 years of living and working in Moses Lake, first for the Department of Children and Family Services helping families with children in the foster care system, and then at Samaritan Hospital as a fiscal analyst.

But she considers the 20 years she worked for DCFS some of the most rewarding.

“Sometimes you can make a difference, give families the power to feel better about themselves,” Pope said. “If parents felt better about themselves, that helps children feel better about themselves.”

“You don’t work (at DCFS) without having deep compassion for children,” she added.

Pope doesn’t want to change much at the club, at least not yet. She wants to settle in and work on the programs outgoing club director Brant Mayo (who just started as the director of Grant County Economic Development Council) has put in place and make them “great.”

“I want this place to be the first choice for everyone in town,” she said. “I want kids to beg to go to the Boys and Girls Club.”

The club works closely with the school district to provide kids a safe place to play, do homework or just hang out after school, at the club’s main clubhouse and its operations at Larson Heights, North, and Midway elementary schools.

“Even with those schools, the numbers at the McGraw Clubhouse are still good,” Pope said. “We’ve never done a membership drive; it’s all done by reputation.”

“And what if we’re in every elementary school?” she added.

It’s a favorite question of hers — “What if?” — and gets Pope looking at possibilities to work for in the future, such as people donating their time to the club to teach kids things like music.

And she wants her energy — her very outgoing energy — and sense of purpose to touch everyone. She wants kids, volunteers and employees to feel like going to work is the best part of their day.

“If I touched this person’s life — employee, child, parent — that made my whole day worthwhile,” Pope said. “I want a life of service to the community.”

By: Charles H. Featherstone 



COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD -click here to see article


MOSES LAKE – Construction on the new clubhouse for the Moses Lake Boys and Girls Club begins next month, and the club supporters marked the occasion with a groundbreaking ceremony recently.

The new clubhouse, a $2.8 million project, will be next door to Park Orchard Elementary School, 417 Paxson Dr. A new clubhouse has been a dream for years, said P.J. De Benedetti, who’s on the fundraising committee. “We’re getting close now,” De Benedetti said Monday of the fundraising effort.

Completion could come by the end of 2013, De Benedetti said.

The current clubhouse is on Third Street downtown, and that space just isn’t big enough any more, said Boys and Girls Club board member Don McGraw. The club has had to limit growth due to space issues, he said.

The bigger clubhouse will allow expansion and the addition of some new services, McGraw said. And construction is imminent.

“We’re shovel-ready. We’re ready to go,” said club Director Brant Mayo. Contractors are still working out the exact date, but the work begins in May, Mayo said.

The relationship between the Moses Lake School District and the club has been an important reason the new clubhouse is moving forward, De Benedetti said. The Boys and Girls Club will have access to school district property when school is closed, and the district will be able to use the clubhouse when Boys and Girls Club is closed, Mayo said.

The Boys and Girls Club helps out parents that, for whatever reason, can’t be home after school, and the club gives those families help staying on track, McGraw said.

The Moses Lake club has had a lot of support locally, McGraw said, and built good partnerships with local service organizations as well as the school district. Key support has come from local legislators, who helped obtain construction grants, he said.

State Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, said it was pretty easy to get support in the state Legislature, because the project had so much community support. The state can’t do it all, Warnick said, which is why the community is so important.

“That sells it to me,” she said.

Currently the legislature is considering a $300,000 construction grant for the club for 2013, but that hasn’t been finalized, she said.

To complete the project, the Boys and Girls Club is trying to close the remaining funding gap.

“It’s been a long road. We’re not done yet,” Mayo said.

Any and all donations are accepted. “We’ve had large gifts and we’ve had small gifts, and they all help,” De Benedetti said. People can take donations to the current clubhouse, 410 West Third St., Moses Lake, or contact Mayo, 509-764-9694.

By: Cheryl Schweizer

Share This