For almost 60 years, the Rotary Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of King County has served inner-city children and teenagers in the Central Area of Seattle. Over 90% of our members are from ethnic minority backgrounds. More than 50% live in single-parent homes, extended family situations or foster care. With the many pressing issues facing youth in our community today, it is critical that we all assist in their positive guidance, development and safety. The Rotary Branch gives more than 500 school-aged children the opportunity to have a safe place to call "my Club," where quality programs help them make today's dreams tomorrow's reality.
The Rotary Boys and Girls Club began as the Rotary Youth Foundation in 1939, and was established by the Rotary Service Club of Seattle for the purpose of building character in Seattle’s young boys. The Foundation was operated in the basement of the Plymouth Congregational Church and was known as the George Coleman Club House. In 1947, the club became affiliated with the Boys Clubs of America. Within a single year, 500 boys had become members. At that time, programs centered around three core areas as follows: Physical Recreation (sports), Vocational Recreation (woodworking, metal and leather crafts), and Social Recreation (games, music and special events).
By 1953, the club had become so popular that the membership had outgrown the church facilities. Extensive research indicated that the Rotary Boys Club would better serve the community if it were centrally located in the area of greatest need. Therefore, in 1954, the Rotary Club of Seattle contracted W.G. Clark Construction Company, owned by Don L. Clark, to build the existing facility. At the time of its construction, with its state of the art tilt up concrete design, the Rotary Boys and Girls was considered the most modern Club in the Pacific Northwest. It was designed to accommodate a membership of 1,500 youths.
During the 1977-78, academic year, the Boys Club began to admit girls. Now, more than 40 years later, the Rotary Boys and Girls Club continues to serve boys and girls in the central area community. The Rotary Club of Seattle spearheaded a new addition to the building in 1989. Its purpose was to house the newly created Rotary Educational Assistance Program (REAP). REAP is a comprehensive educational support program that provides tutors and mentors for the youths in our community. REAP was developed in conjunction with the Seattle Public Schools, and provides an environment where students can improve grades, build self esteem, and enhance their ability to succeed in our society.
With a strong commitment to growing and improving, the Rotary Boys and Girls Club continues to provide the children and young adults of Seattle’s central area with a place to call their own…”The Positive Place For Kids…Where Today’s Dreams become Tomorrow’s Reality.”