The E. L. Wiegand Foundation presented a $70,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada to replace the organization’s aging vans following a visit from Foundation President Kristen Avansino.
“Last fall I decided to visit the Club unannounced,” Avansino said. “It was my first visit to the new facility since I had not been able to visit the Clubs’ Teen Center grand opening. I toured the building with Program Director Matt Sampson and was truly impressed by his enthusiasm and assessments. The building was well maintained and, obviously, well used.”
At her request, Sampson showed Avansino the Club’s convoy of vans.
“Certainly, these vans did not replicate the excellence demonstrated inside the Club,” she said. “Several days later I invited the Club to submit an Application for Grant.”
Katie Leao, executive director for the Carson City based Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, said Kurt Meyer, president of the 2016 board of directors, submitted the grant request for a new van.
“To our great surprise and delight, they came back and gave us funding for two new vans,” she said.
According to Leao, the Clubs works closely with the Carson City and Douglas County School Districts to provide transportation for members after school, however the Clubs are responsible for the areas school buses can’t cover. During the school year, more than 400 children are bussed to the Clubs in both Carson City and the Carson Valley weekly at no extra charge to their families.
“Club vans and shuttles currently supplement the nearby elementary and high schools to ensure our kids have access to our programs,” Leao said. “In addition, we use the vans in our summer program for field trips and other activities, which include long distance travel to Reno and Lake Tahoe.”
Leao said each of the two vans the Clubs previously owned was donated. Regular maintenance is accounted for in the budget, but last year the Clubs spent more than $11,000 on unanticipated costs for upkeep on the aging vans to ensure the vehicles were safe and secure for the children and staff. One van is slated to be sold to help with fuel, maintenance, insurance, and registration costs associated with the Club’s other vehicles.
“One is a 1997 van with over 94,000 miles, and the other is a 1995 with nearly 145,000 miles,” Leao said. “The new vans will alleviate unnecessary expenditures and allow us to use the dollars elsewhere. They will help us transport our kids safely and most importantly, the kids we serve and our staff members who work tirelessly will have pride in representing their Club.”
The two 15-passenger Ford Transit vans were purchased with help from Dick Campagni’s Capital Ford. Campagni was a long time Clubs board member.
“The Campagni organization has supported the Club for years,” Tim Milligan, general manager for Dick Campagni’s Capital Ford, Carson City Hyundai and the Campagni Auto Group, said. “We try to find ways to help when we can, so when the Club needed vans, we were happy to help select the most reliable, safe and comfortable option. These vans will provide stable transport for the kids.”