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Boys & Girls Club focused on future

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In this 2017 photo, Tim Coughlin, president and CEO of the Roswell and Ruidoso Boys & Girls Clubs, is seen during a General Services Committee meeting. (Record File Photo)

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaves and Lincoln Counties is to provide programs that help children develop essential skills while offering them a place to form friendships and have fun in a safe environment.

The Boys & Girls Club is among the local organizations helping better the lives of generations to come.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaves and Lincoln Counties was formed when the Roswell organization merged operations with the Sierra Blanca Clubs in Ruidoso in 2017.

Tim Coughlin was hired as the executive director of the Ruidoso Club in 2012 and now oversees both areas.

When, toward the end of 2017, the Clubs of Sierra Blanca and Roswell became one, his title changed to CEO. The name was changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaves and Lincoln Counties to better reflect the areas served.

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Coughlin spoke recently about how, during the pandemic, routines have had to be altered to meet the changes COVID-19 has brought.

“We received word back in March that schools and most businesses were being closed,” he said. “We closed both of our locations and started working remotely, developing a plan to reopen. During this time, we were also working on relocating our facility, being that a major remodel was planned for the club building.

“Working with the city of Roswell, we were able to relocate to the Roswell Aquatic Center and reopened to members at the beginning of July,” he said.

Coughlin spoke about how, moving forward, virtual learning is helping to keep the clubs running.

“Where we are normally used to having many kids in the building after school, we have had to limit the number based on staffing and restrictions on group sizes,” he said. “We have adapted to the virtual learning model, providing access to the internet, and staff help while the kids are participating in their online learning. When the Roswell schools are able to move into the hybrid learning model, we will adapt our operations once again to accommodate the revised learning process.

“As we move through the various models, we will be able to increase the number of kids that we can serve,” Coughlin said.

In addition, the policies have been updated to make sure that all safety precautions are taken. There are increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols, and temperature checks are also performed twice a day with a constant focus on keeping both the kids and staff safe.

“This year has definitely been one that no one could have predicted; it has tested our ability to be flexible and forward-thinking,” Coughlin said.

Like most other organizations, events are difficult to hold right now.

Coughlin said the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner for 2020 will most likely be canceled, mostly due to renovations taking place at their building.

“We are beginning a Community Development Block Grant remodel of our building that has caused us to move to the Roswell Aquatic Center,” he said. “Completion is estimated to be in March or April of 2021. These renovations will cover just about every square foot of the building and we must vacate to facilitate the work.

“Unfortunately, because of the increased hours and attention to our members’ education, our marketing has also suffered,” he said. “Our Facebook page (Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaves and Lincoln Counties) has been our main source of information to the public.”

Coughlin is a believer in the clubs, as well as a supporter and hard worker on the organization’s behalf.

When asked about the positive things he sees in the organization, he said, “We have a fantastic board that is working so hard to make things happen, and take leadership roles in the New Mexico Boys & Girls Club movement. Our board members include Jim Matteucci, Barry Foster, Aaron Emmert, Brenda Kasuboski, Mark Murphy and Carolyn Madison.

“Without them, none of this would be possible.”

He also commented on seeing the impact the club has on young people.

“You can’t even imagine the reward of running into a former club kid who is now a part of the local workforce,” he said. “Even better than that is when a former club kid comes back to work for the club and uses their past experiences to pay it forward to the next generation of members.”

Coughlin said he would like the community to know more about the club and the good it does.

“Many folks wonder what we do at the Boys & Girls Club. First and foremost, we provide a safe environment where kids can have fun,” he said. “We provide supportive relationships, along with opportunities and expectations. Along with that comes recognition for their achievements and their potential.”

The Boys & Girls Club receives the majority of its funding through donations and grants.

“The fees we charge only account for a small fraction of our revenues,” Coughlin said. “Although the fees charged are affordable, they may be a bit much for struggling families. Our board has established a scholarship fund to help those who need it, so that their children may attend. Donations to our scholarship fund, or our general fund, are always greatly appreciated. Being a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, those donations are deductible to the full extent of the law.”

Of the eventual completion of renovations to the club’s building, Coughlin said, “We are planning a grand re-opening celebration and the entire community will be invited to come visit us.”

Coughlin moved from the San Diego area to New Mexico in 2010. In addition to his CEO role with the Boys & Girls Club, he serves on the Ruidoso Village Council where he has received the Certified Municipal Official designation.

This role has benefited the clubs, he said. “Through my councilor role,” Tim explains, “I knew many of the leaders in Roswell before we even brought the clubs together.”

In 2015, he was presented the Executive of the Year Award for the Southwest Region of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.