U-46 recognizes Boys & Girls Club of Elgin with Business Partner of the Year Award

Club serves 3,000 U-46 students each year

Elgin Area School District U-46 celebrated its 20-year partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, recognizing it with the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Partner of the Year Award.

U-46 Chief of Staff Brian Lindholm presented the award to Boys & Girls Club Chief Executive Officer Cathy Russell and Chief Operating Officer Natalie Pawluk during the chamber’s annual meeting March 20.

Lindholm said the Boys & Girls Club serves about 3,000 U-46 students each year from 34 schools at 28 sites, nearly 10% of the district’s student population.

“Thousands of U-46 students’ lives have been changed through access to Boys & Girls Club programs that support their growth to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” Lindholm said.

The formal relationship between U-46 and the Boys & Girls Club dates back to 2004 when the organization started serving students at Larsen Middle School. In subsequent years, the organization expanded its reach to elementary and high school students, and began serving U-46 students in elementary school buildings to reach more families.

While the club was founded in Elgin, in the past six years, it has broadened its geographic reach to Streamwood, Hanover Park and South Elgin, all communities served by U-46.

Lindholm noted the partnership deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic when U-46 worked with the Boys & Girls Club to design ways to support remote learning and offer after-school programming when schools were closed to in-person instruction. In the wake of the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club began offering special summertime programming to U-46 students; those programs are expected to reach about 1,500 students this summer.

Russell said the organization’s goal is to “serve all of the kids who need us most, and to be there for them when school is out.”

She praised U-46 leadership for being creative and thinking outside the box.

“Partnership goes both ways, and you can only do what people allow you to do,” Russell said. “U-46 has been an amazing partner to work with. We really appreciate it.”

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