Caldwell Boys and Girls Club

Twin-brothers Nehemiah and Jermiah Cuellar, 9, play a game of tetherball, at the Caldwell Boys & Girls Club, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

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The Boys & Girls Club of Nampa opened its new Caldwell site in September, thanks, in part, to a $1 million grant from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

“We have had quite a few parents that have reached out before asking if we have a site in Caldwell, and we just didn’t have the resources or manpower to do it,” said Melissa Gentry, the club’s executive director. But the grant changed that.

“We’re really excited that we’re able to provide the service in Caldwell.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a national nonprofit organization with local chapters across the country. The club’s mission is to help kids succeed by providing a safe space, caring mentors, and programs to help kids succeed academically and personally, according the organization’s website.

The new site, located at Indian Creek Academy (1512 Fillmore St., Caldwell), opened Monday and will serve up to 150 students, Gentry said.

The program also serves a great need in the community for affordable care for kids. For many families, parents are working multiple jobs, are not often home, and have to leave kids to care for themselves, Gentry said. Gentry recalled talking to a mother who used a camera to communicate with her children at home while she was at work.

Many local families also earn too much to qualify for assistance with paying for childcare, but not enough to comfortably afford childcare, Gentry said.

For kids to participate in the club’s Caldwell site, parents can attend an orientation and pay $25 per child per year. The rest of the cost of hosting kids is covered through corporate and private donations, Gentry said.

Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas said the club’s expansion into Caldwell is a great asset to the community, in addition to the services offered by other entities that already serve the community, such as the YMCA.

“All of these elements are helpful to the health and well-being of our youth, and not just physical health, but mental health,” Nancolas said.

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