Home News Local News Roswell Boys & Girls Club making progress since merger

Roswell Boys & Girls Club making progress since merger

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Natasha Welt, interim unit director at the Roswell Boys & Girls Club, waters vegetables Tuesday in the club’s vegetable garden. The garden area was formerly a swimming pool and has been filled with dirt to grow plants. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A repainted cafeteria. A roof that no longer leaks. A brand-new van. A vegetable garden. New computers on the way.

These are a few of the good things that have happened at the Roswell Boys & Girls Club since it merged operations with the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso last October.

Tim Coughlin, who was hired as executive director of the Ruidoso club when it opened in 2012, now puts a lot of miles on his vehicle as he commutes back and forth from the two communities to oversee both clubs.

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America is to provide after-school programs that help children develop essential skills and play in a safe environment.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America had committed to support to the Roswell/Ruidoso partnership with $75,000 in funding during 2017, with additional funds pledged during 2018 and 2019. The funding from national requires a 1-to-1 match with money raised in the community.

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Coughlin, who also serves on the Ruisdoso village council, is the 2015 recipient of the Professional Associations Executive of the Year award for the eight states comprising the Southwest Region of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“It’s a lot of work, a lot of rebuilding,” Coughlin said Monday during an interview at his office in Ruidoso. “One-third of the old pool is now a garden and we keep expanding.”

Coughlin said he recently procured a grant from Leprino Foods Co. in Roswell to purchase five laptop and two desktop computers. The computers should arrive later this week.

Then there’s the electric bill, which was $1,200 last month, Coughlin said. A big chuck of the bill was from running the air conditioning, he said, but another big chunk is the antiquated and inefficient lighting.

The club’s gym has halogen gas bulbs, and each one draws between 400 to 500 watts.

Coughlin said he is working to find funds to replace the old lighting with LED, which only use 10 percent of the energy of incandescent bulbs.

Natasha Welt, interim unit director at the Roswell club, said they want to replace all the lighting in the building, not just in the gym.

The building at 201 S. Garden Ave. is owned by the city, and Welt said the city recently fixed the roof, which leaked so badly that two rooms were unusable. One room will be used now for art and science projects, Welt said.

Coughlin said that room has a sink where the kids can wash their hands and paint brushes.

The cafeteria was repainted with paint donated by Sherwin-Williams in Roswell and labor donated by the New Mexico Military Institute, Coughlin said.

Last month, the United Way of Chaves County donated a new van to the club to help transport members after school to the facility.

Right now, both clubs are the sites in their respective communities for the USDA Summer Food Service Program. Every Monday through Friday at noon, young people from ages 1 to 18 can eat at the clubs free of charge.

The defunct swimming pool that was an eyesore at the Roswell club has been given new life — literally. A variety of vegetables, ranging from bell peppers, to tomatoes to squash, are now thriving in the old pool, which was filled in with dirt.

Welt said she isn’t completely sure with what they will do will all the vegetables, but they have a few projects in mind. One is making salsa. Welt said they are growing all the ingredients for salsa except onions.

“We are doing this by trial and error, she said. “Next year we plan to expand the garden to the whole swimming pool.”

Welt said she would like to thank Rick Burns, who built the moats around the plants, and Tim Davidson, general manager at Westlake ACE Hardware, for donating the plants.

Welt added they are planting honeysuckle vines along the front fence to brighten up appearances.

Coughlin said he always tells his staff they are like local celebrities, because they will always meet families in the community whose children are served by the clubs.

“I love to see the kids and how they develop with the programs we provide for them,” he said. “We are having some of the kids (in Ruidoso) who started with us now come back and work here. It’s nice to see that progression.”

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.

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