Sign-ups open for Boys & Girls Club after school program

The Leominster Champion
August 18, 2016

With schools starting in a few weeks, many parents are thinking ahead to what their children will be doing in the hours after school.

For local youth, a popular option is the after school program at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, which is currently accepting applications for the fall program.

The program, which starts on Sept. 6, is geared for kids aged 8-18. Children between 8 and 12 years old spend their afternoons in the Junior Clubhouse, which is open from 2:30-6 p.m. every weekday. Members aged 13-18 spend their time in the club’s Teen Center, which is open 2:30- 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Read more…

Ex-astronaut has campers exploring wonders of science

Former NASA astronaut Don Thomas and Founder /President of Higher Orbits Michelle Lucas listens to some ideas from Madeline Hammar, 11, from Leominster as she explains some of the ideas that her group came up with for experiments in space at the Fitchburg/Leominster Boys and Girls Club this week. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE

By Peter Jasinski
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 18, 2016

Photo Gallery | Astronaut visits Boys & Girls Club

 LEOMINSTER — According to Don Thomas, there are about a million things that will catch you by surprise during your first time in outer space, but the one that stands out is something he saw outside the space shuttle’s window during his first mission.

“I was looking out at city lights and the night below me and I saw a small zip of light go by,” the former astronaut said.

The light, it turned out, was a shooting star passing below him.

“Here on Earth, when you want to see a shooting star you look up at the sky. When you’re in space and you want to see one you look back at Earth,” he said.

Read more…

Boys & Girls Club to host event promoting STEM careers

By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 13, 2016

LEOMINSTER — Next week, local middle- and high-school students will have a chance to explore the final frontier from their own community.

Go For Launch, an educational and experimental space camp run by nonprofit Higher Orbits, is coming to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster from Monday through Wednesday.

The Go For Launch program will give students a chance to hear space-shuttle experiences from retired astronaut Dr. Don Thomas, and to design their own space experiments — one of which might go into orbit.

The camp’s purpose, in part, is to encourage young people to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, said program director Michelle Lucas.

“I’ve had comments from students that we’ve shown them there’s a lot more options with science than they ever considered,” Lucas said. “We’re not trying to turn them all into rocket scientists, but what we do love is that space is a great way to get students excited about STEM, irrespective of what they want to do when they grow up.” Read more…

Kids get crafty in Summer Blast program at Boys & Girls Club

By Lucy Norton
Sentinel & Enterprise
July 31, 2016

Week 5 of Summer Blast is wrapping up here for the kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. The Sprouts and Juniors are sad to see another another fun week at camp go, but the staff are just as excited as the kids to come back next week to restart some of their favorite activities here at the club!

The Juniors had lots of fun in store this week, including a very special surprise in Kids in Clay. They made edible murals out of toasted bread, and after they are all finished, their artwork will be displayed at the American Visionary Art Museum in the exhibit Yum! in Baltimore.

Tsuhey are also still having a blast in Summer Patch Mural, where they have just finished their Kandinsky Tree and Camp Crafts.

DSC06474 Club members pose by their bread mural, which will be put on display in an art museum in Baltimore when they are finished.

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Rising to the creative occasion

Boys & Girls Club members part of bread mural project
By David Dore
The Leominster Champion
July 28, 2016

 A close-up of some of the bread mural contributions. David Dore photo

A close-up of some of the bread mural contributions. David Dore photoA group of children gathered in the art room at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster Tuesday morning, ready to create.

After getting into groups, they were given their canvas and the tools they would need to bring their visions to life.

There was something unique about these canvases: They were 18-inch by 26-inch baking pans that had been painted gold. And inside the pans were pieces of toast.

Artist Jerry Beck is hoping to turn stale bread and baking pans into a mural measuring 100 feet long and 10 feet high that will go on display later this year at the American Visionary Art Museumin Baltimore. It might even break a world record, according to Beck.

“We hope that we’ll be in the Guinness Book of World Records so kids — they already feel a sense of pride, but when they’ve created a world record, it’s something we think they’ll never forget,” he said. Read more…

Retired astronaut to teach space program at Fitchburg-Leominster Boys & Girls Club

A principal instructor in Go For Launch! will be retired astronaut Don Thomas, who became an astronaut in 1991.

A principal instructor in Go For Launch! will be retired astronaut Don Thomas, who became an astronaut in 1991. Submitted photo

By Eric Stanway
The Worcester Telegram
July 22, 2016

WORCESTER – Those of us old enough to remember the first moon landings and initial exploration of Mars will recall the heady exhilaration of those times. For a while there, it seemed like every kid on the block wanted to grow up to be an astronaut.

The Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster is looking to ignite that spark again in a younger generation, as they initiate their first Massachusetts Go For Launch! program on August 15-17.

“We’re really excited to bring Go For Launch! to the area for the first time,” Katie Hammes of the Boys and Girls Club said. “This is a great way for kids to learn about space, and figure out ways to address the challenges that astronauts face all the time.”

The program is held in conjunction with the nonprofit organization Higher Orbits, which endeavors to make science more accessible to students.

Read more…

Kids beat the heat with cool programs at Boys & Girls Club

By Lucy Norton
Sentinel & Enterprise
July 24, 2016

At the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, members are more than halfway through the six-week Summer Blast program, and are having a great time doing all sorts of activities. Even though they are four weeks in, the kids haven’t slowed down one bit.


The Sprouts, members ages 5-7, had lots of fun this past week with activities like Summer Brain Gain, which helps keep their minds and imaginations active over the summer, and dance with Miss Kim. There was plenty of giggling as the kids worked together to play parachute games and come up with dances. They also cooled down with water games and kiddie pools the day the Juniors were at the lake. It was a great afternoon.

The Juniors, who are 8-12 years old, have busy schedules as well. There are many STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) programs to keep them busy and learning, like Code Academy and Scratch, where they can learn and use programming skills,, Math Jeopardy, and DIY Volcanoes, where members build a homemade volcano and learn about real ones in the process. 3D Printing is popular on the Club’s new 3D printing lab — so far, the kids have printed lots of things that they’ll take home later this summer, including a cartoon cat figurine, a life-size hand, some angel wings and Minecraft mining tools. Read more…

Realtors partner with Boys & Girls Club to help youth

The Leominster Champion
July 14, 2016

The North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to ensure that the youth of our area have great futures.

“Realtors help build neighborhoods and communities, and volunteering time and resources with BGCA gives us the opportunity to help enrich and improve the lives of the young people in these communities,” said Michelle Haggstrom, president of the North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

Members rallied together to volunteer at several posts during the 5K fundraising event to support the Boys & Girls Club. NCMAR members Kathryn Weldon manned the hydroblaster, Locke Haman and Tom Ruble fired up the grill to provide a hearty lunch, and Executive Officer Kathy Lore, Pat Toth, April Cover, Brian Cormier, Susan Roser and Haggstrom assisted with pre-race activities such as registration, bib and T-shirt pickup. The funds raised from the 5K race will be used to continue the many beneficial programs at the local Boys & Girls Club.

The North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors is the most trusted resource for real estate information in Northern Worcester County, and the Boys & Girls Club of America is the premier youth development organization in the U.S. Both organizations have come together to make an ever greater difference in the community.

“We are proud to partner with the North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors and their members. This partnership will have an immediate and profound impact on our club, our communities and most importantly, our city’s young people,” said Donata Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. “We look forward to this partnership and working together on volunteer projects, club improvements and mentoring, as well as fundraising and awareness initiatives to enable more young people to achieve great futures.”

Rollstone Bank & Trust donates $10,000 to Boys & Girls Club summer program

Published in:
Sentinel & Enterprise
The Harvard Press
The Worcester Telegram
July 7, 2016

Rollstone Bank & Trust recently gave $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster for its summer programs. The funds will be matched by an anonymous donor, who is matching up to $50,000 in donations.

“We appreciate the continued support of Rollstone Bank for our after school and summer programs,” Donata Martin, executive director of the club, said. “The willingness to help us meet our $50,000 Challenge by giving an additional gift is more than admirable and demonstrates Rollstone’s support of our mission: ‘To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive and caring citizens. Read more…

Creating a better future

Leominster Boys & Girls Club winner shows what a club could do for Gardner

By Andrew Mansfield
The Gardner News
July 2, 2016

LEOMINSTER – The motto for the Boys and Girls Club is “great futures start here.”

News staff photos by Andrew Mansfield Laura Jenny from the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, at 365 Lindell Ave. in Leominster, won the Youth of the Year award for Massachusetts clubs. Gardner has a Boys and Girls Club program at Gardner High School, with Fitchburg and Leominster being its parent club. Here, Jenny helps kids make cookies at the club in Leominster.

In Gardner’s case, a pilot program that ran this past school year has been looking to its parent club in Fitchburg and Leominster for how to build such an opportunity for its youth.

The parent club took another major step forward in living up to its saying this year, as member Laura Jenny, an incoming senior at Leominster High, won the Massachusetts Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Award for 2016.

“We’re blown away,” said Executive Director Donata Martin.

The hope is that someday Gardner can build its program to become a full club with the same success and its own building too. The pilot program was hosted at Gardner High School for a group of about 20 middle-school students, run by parent club staff. Read more…

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