Huntington's Boys and Girls Club gets a refresh—and a special gift for its Youth of the Year

"Imagine a place where who you are, where you're from, or the circumstances that surround you don't determine your access to experiences or opportunities."

Providing that place for youth is the mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington (BGC Huntington) is finding new ways to achieve that goal in Northeast Indiana. 
 
On July 15, Aaron's lease-to-own furniture, appliances, and electronics of Huntington, a long-standing partner of the Boys and Girls Club, provided the club with its second mini refresh--a feat that has yet to happen for any other club in the U.S. 

Huntington's first refresh came in 2017 when it applied for a remodel of its teen center. 

"These teen centers are essential to getting teens to come into our doors," says Desiree Frederick, Program Director for the BGC Huntington. "The more they like the space, the more likely they are to come into the club where we can get them involved with programming and mentorship."  

The second mini refresh happened by surprise this month and included more than $19,000 in materials, including new couches, computers for homework and gaming, tables and chairs, a refrigerator, a Pac-Man machine, and the camp game 9 Square in the Air. 

"Items like 9 Square in the Air help keep the teens engaged and active for long periods," says Frederick. "While the computers and tablets allow us to sit together during programming and Keystone events." 

The surprises didn't stop there. According to the Regional Manager of Aaron’s, Denny Broens, Aaron's decided not only to surprise the club, but also to provide their very first home refresh for an individual member of the club. A Huntington North High School senior named Caden was supplied with a complete bedroom makeover before he makes his way to college in the fall. 

Caden won his local competition for Youth of the Year, a leadership program, and title awarded to a member who embodies the Boys and Girls Club values. 

"With more than 800 hours of community service provided since his freshman year of high school, acting as president of Keystone Club, and the endless other leadership opportunities Caden has stepped into, there is no one else quite so deserving of the honor," Frederick says.
As part of the home refresh, Aaron's provided Caden with a few essentials for his next chapter in college, too, including a new bedroom set, desk, laptop, and a $3,000 travel grant to use as he commutes to Ivy Tech in Fort Wayne. 

The club is thankful for this second refresh and hopes these surprises for both the teen center and Caden's home will inspire more youth still going through the Boys and Girls Club programming. 

No matter who they are, where they are from, or the circumstances surrounding them, BGC Huntington will keep opening the doors to new experiences and opportunities.