By Nick Todaro

Local branch of Boys & Girls Club to benefit from project

P articipants in the Leadership Frisco program have drafted businesses from around the community to pitch in to help address a series of needs facing the Bob & Joy Darling Frisco Branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County.

Peter Burns with the Frisco Chamber of Commerce said the 2014 class, dubbed Class 17, wanted to find a project that would impact the community. An assessment of the club made it clear to the group that needs existed there, he said.

"They looked at the Boys & Girls Club and asked how they could help," Burns said.

Class leader Chris Messner said she and her peers wanted to make Class 17's work as impactful as possible. They solicited help from members of each of the 16 previous classes to try to set a new bar for involvement within the Leadership Frisco community.

"All of the classes before us are helping us with our project," she said. "That's what's made this class so successful."

The improvements to the Frisco branch are both inside and out.

"He even got the manufacturer to do a 15-year guaranteed warranty," Messner said. "If we had added that in by ourselves it would be about $85,000."

  • The biggest upgrade is to the building's roof, which needed upwards of $60,000 worth of work that is being done at cost for $25,000 in materials by donor Chad Cunningham of C-4 Roofing.

  • Mike Scarlett of Scarlett Custom Homes will come to oversee the rest of the vendors and contractors involved with other areas of the building once the roof is complete, Messner said.

  • Calloway Nursery has pitched in to provide landscaping at the facility, she said, including a drip watering system.

  • Cinemark has pledged to build a movie-viewing room in the facility with a theater screen, new viewing equipment and upgrades to the space.

  • A Frisco Public Library initiative to install a kind of mini-library" at the club will also outfit the children with library cards, she said.

  • Hewlett-Packard is donating thousands of dollars worth of computers, printers and tablets. Texas Instruments has donated a set of graphic calculators for high school students and scientific calculators for younger students.

  • Dave & Busters will be donating some of their games for a game area to benefit the older students at the club as well, Messner said.

  • Sherwin-Williams is donating more than 1,200 gallons of paint to rework the interior of the building, with Frisco ISD students set to draw murals inside the building.

  • Additional plans include asking the community for art supplies for the club's art room as well as new books, board games, console game systems and other equipment and amenities as Leadership Frisco members can find them.

"We're really getting the whole community involved," Messner said.

According to Mike Simpson, CEO of the BGCCC, most of the repairs will be done and new equipment placed during a weeklong break between the summer and fall programs.

Boys & Girls Club

The Frisco Boys & Girls Club building before 2006 served as Frisco's city hall.

According to Mike Simpson, Boys & Girls Club of Collin County CEO, it housed the police station, jail, library, council chambers and city court.

The city donated the building to the Boys & Girls Club.

There are more than 900 members signed up for the Frisco club, part of the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County, so far in 2014. Simpson said the Frisco program has grown 62 percent since 2011.

The club provides activities in five core areas, including character and leadership development, education and career development, the arts, health and life skills, as well as sports, recreation and fitness.

More than 500 children signed up for the Frisco summer program, Simpson said. Not all of the 500 children come every day, but the average daily attendance at the center is still 325 children. Parents can drop their children off at 7 a.m., and the center remains open until 6 p.m.

During the summer session the center employs a total of 25 full- and part-time staff members.

Leadership Frisco

Peter Burns, who chairs Leadership Frisco through the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, leads an advisory committee in selecting members for each class from a pool of applicants.

Once chosen, students in the program attend sessions monthly for nine months, learning about Frisco government the educational system, economic development, service organizations, regional issues, leisure and culture, health services and public safety.

Members of the program select and complete a class project during their year that benefits Frisco.

For more information about the program, call the chamber at 972-335-9522 or email[email protected].