EVERETT — In 1946, north Everett became home to the first Boys & Girls Club in Snohomish County.
It was meant to be a flagship.
Over the years, the club on 12th Street has lost some of that luster, director Jake Marsh said. Still, some 300 children and teens arrive every day.
“It’s amazing what they do … ” said Joe Cronin, a club alumnus who serves on the board. “So many kids are coming through there. They’re getting fed and they’re studying and they’re playing games. The community really needs it.”
Marsh and Cronin are working together on a campaign to connect with alumni. They want to build relationships, and there’s also a fundraising element.
Marsh took over the club in September, after six years of directing the location on Casino Road. He inherited a 2018 budget that comes up short by more than $100,000. It’s a hurdle for any nonprofit, particularly in this part of town, he said.
If the club raised its prices, families would be left out, often those most in need, Marsh said.
“We serve a population that is tremendously at-risk, looking for somewhere safe before and after school,” he said.
The club provides programs for ages 5 to 18, as well as licensed child care. Demand is growing. The 12th Street location recently lowered its child care rates and forgave outstanding bills.
Those are a few changes among many as Marsh looks to revamp the club.
His family and many others around the county have ties to the building. Marsh grew up in Snohomish. His dad, Curt Marsh, a former player for the Oakland Raiders, participated in sports at the north Everett club. Curt Marsh’s name is among those in the alumni displays in the hall.
Other notable locals include former Everett Mayor Ed Hansen, auto dealer Tom Lane and Everett High School Principal Lance Balla.
“There’s a rich history here,” Jake Marsh said.
At the club those folks once attended, a lot is going on. Young people are growing their own fruits and vegetables. The site just became a transportation hub for Everett School District students experiencing homelessness. It’s also providing free memberships to the 240-plus households being displaced by the Baker Heights redevelopment.
Summer camp registration opened Tuesday. In addition, the club is taking part in the meetings for the city’s advisory group on addressing gang violence. It hosted the first gathering.
Cronin’s connection is one of legacy, as well. His family has a long history of giving in Everett and Lake Stevens, including through Boys & Girls clubs.
Cronin, 37, grew up in the Everett club, playing basketball and football. Later, he became a teacher and coach, and he spent time at Cascade and Lake Stevens high schools. In those roles, he learned even more how important programs are for young people.
The two-year alumni campaign is set to launch with a small gathering May 8. A public open house is planned for June 7. Marsh and Cronin hope more people get involved.
Everett is the “biggest small-town ever,” Cronin said. “You’re always one person away from knowing someone.”
For more information about the Everett Boys & Girl Club, including the alumni effort, contact director Jake Marsh at email@example.com or 425-259-5147.