MARYSVILLE — When it rained, water seeped inside under the kitchen door. Someone had burned a couch in the alleyway on the building’s north side, leaving a charred patch of paint on the cinder-block wall. Pencils, paper, scissors, paints and other art and school supplies were in cardboard boxes and plastic bins, stacked in a corner of the computer lab.
Hundreds of kids have walked through the Marysville Boys &Girls Club since it opened in 2009 on Beach Avenue, but the 1950s-era gym is showing its age. The club’s skeleton staff did not have time or resources to tackle the list of maintenance jobs and improvement projects.
Dozens of volunteers in bright green T-shirts turned out this weekend to lend a hand. The project was part of Comcast Cares Day, a company-wide day of service that the telecommunications and media giant claims is the biggest single-day corporate volunteer effort in the country. Last year, more than 100,000 Comcast workers, family members and others volunteered, according to the company.
In Snohomish County, volunteers also cleaned up and improved a stretch of the Whitehorse Trail damaged in 2014’s deadly Oso mudslide.
In the Boys &Girls Club parking lot, Mike Graham, a Comcast maintenance technician, stretched out measuring tape along a two-by-four piece of lumber for custom-built shelves for the club’s computer lab. A nail gun popped as another volunteer ‘hammered’ a couple boards together.
Graham double checked his measurement, marked it with a pencil, put the measuring tape away, and pulled down on the power saw’s handle. The whirring blade buzzed through the wood. A block fell to the asphalt.
Sawdust hung in the air.
The club smelled like work — sawdust in the parking lot, mulch outside the building’s front door, and cleaning products and paint inside.
Along the alleyway, near where the couch had burned, Davis Haymond was painting along the building’s trim.
Before they started, the beige paint “was kind of faded” and chipping, he said.
Volunteers already had replaced outside lights to discourage another couch burning.
Saturday usually is when Haymond cleans his own house, but, he said, this work meant a lot more.
The club’s director, Christina Trader, agreed.
“It means the world” to the more than 800 kids who belong to the club, which is open for ages 5 to 18, she said.
The club offers before- and after-school care, summer camps, sports teams and other programs. There is a Lego class, where a couple dozen 6- to 9-year-olds have designed and built machines that can pick up trash.
“The kids get so excited about their machines when they see them work,” Trader said.
She got an outside grant for STEM education to pay for the class.
About 100 girls and boys come by every school day, and about 120 in the summer. Everyone is fed, she said.
The club has 28 volleyball, flag football and basketball teams this spring. It has a similar number in the fall. “When I got here” in 2012, “there were three teams,” Trader said.
The Marysville club has steadily grown since then. It offers kids a safe, supportive place to hang out, do homework, play games and sports, and, well, be kids.
No one is turned away if they can’t cover participation fees, she said. “We always figure something out.”
Trader asked the club’s older kids to pick the paint colors for the teen room and the game room. They selected lime green and navy blue — the Seahawks’ and Sounders’ colors.
In the gym, Renee Doleshel, who’s husband works for Comcast, was sorting through board games and finding missing pieces with her daughter, Emma.
Doleshel said she is happy to give up a sunny, Spring Saturday to help the Boys &Girl Club.
“I’ve been doing Comcast Cares Days for nine years,” she said. “I love that Comcast allows us an opportunity to give back.”
Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; email@example.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.
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