Shaping our Community's Youth: Boys and Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley and Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

Shaping our Community's Youth: Boys and Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley and Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
by Jessica, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

As co-owners of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Chris and Stuart Freedman recognize the need for an affordable after-school program that gives their employees a certain peace of mind, knowing that their kids are in a safe, positive place, getting fed a decent meal and getting help with their homework. The Boys and Girls Club does just that. Chris and Stuart have been strong advocates of the Club for over ten years!

Offering children a safe place to learn, grow and have fun, the Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide have been taking care of our communities' youth for over 150 years. In Josephine and Jackson counties of Southern Oregon, the Boys and Girls Club provides services to over 6,000 kids between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. During the school year, the kids are bused to the Club for the after-school program, which provides a full USDA-approved dinner and snack along with a variety of activities in the core areas of arts, education, recreation, leadership development and health--all for only $40 per school year!

As with every charitable organization, the struggle for proper funding is ongoing and the Board of Directors is committed to keeping the cost down for all Club members. Chris is on the Board and plays a very active role in marketing their fundraising efforts. She offers her professional expertise, along with donating services from Fire Mountain Gems including financial reviews, graphic design, copywriting and jewelry.

Some of the top annual fundraising events include:
  • Taste of the Illinois Valley: Held every August, this delicious dinner and auction brings together over 20 local restaurants and wineries. Chris and Stuart offer their professional support by supplying the event with banners, advertising, ticketing, staff and numerous auction items such as handmade jewelry and gemstone gifts. This is the largest fundraising event for the Club.
  • Girlfriends' Great Escape: The entire community comes together each February for an all-nighter pampering the women and girls of the area. Local spas and hair salons treat them to manicures and makeovers, and Fire Mountain Gems provides beading supplies so each gal can create a personalized accessory. Many Fire Mountain Gems employees also volunteer at this event to show their support.
Chris and Stuart partner with other local businesses, such as Bridgeview Winery, in ongoing fundraising efforts. Bob and Lelo Kerivan, owners of Bridgeview Winery, couldn't have said it better, "It's very important for us as employers to know that our employees' children are taken care of--so our employees can do their job without worrying about where their children are or where to pick them up after work. For that reason, I feel all employers should help support the Boys and Girls Club. There's not much for kids to do out here and the Boys and Girls Club gives them somewhere to go."

For many of the local youth, the Club helps them build self-esteem and develop skills necessary to make right choices, becoming responsible and productive citizens. An astonishing 97% of the youth that attend the Boys and Girls Club graduate high school or finish at the alternative school and graduate with a GED.

Diann Gilbertson, Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Oregon, adds of Chris and Stuart, "They're the primary reason the local Boys and Girls Club is still open--the support and resources that Fire Mountain offers keeps us going."

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