Club and Community History
The Rotary Boys & Girls Club began as the Rotary Youth Foundation in 1939, established by the Rotary Service Club of Seattle for the purpose of building character in young boys. The Foundation was operated in the basement of 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: 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. So in 1954, the Rotary Club of Seattle contracted W.G. Clark Construction Company, owned by Don L. Clark, to build the current facility. At the time of its construction, with its state-of-the-art tilt-up concrete design, the Rotary Boys Club was considered the most modern Club in the Pacific Northwest. It was designed to accommodate a membership of 1,500 youth.
During the 1977-78 academic year, the Boys Club began to admit girls. Now, nearly 40 years later, the Rotary Boys & 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 new Rotary Educational Assistance Program (REAP). REAP is a comprehensive educational support program that provides tutors and mentors for youth. The program was developed in conjunction with Seattle Public Schools and provides an environment where students can improve grades, build self-esteem and enhance their ability to succeed.
With a strong commitment to growing and improving, the Rotary Boys & Girls Club continues to provide the children and teens 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.