Monroe Boys & Girls receives upgrades

New technology, fresh paint and other facility enhancements are what's in store for the Monroe Boys & Girls Club this month, and Director Jeff Rasmussen said he's nothing but grateful.

Not only has the club been identified as a Comcast Cares Day recipient, but the facility was also selected to receive a $25,000 United Way health initiative grant from United Way. The grant money will be used to upgrade the club's technology center and implement activity-based programming featuring Sqord, a device meant to encourage kids to become more involved in physical fitness.-á

"It is incredible,GÇ¥ Rasmussen said. "I'm just so thrilled. It's going to be a really fun program and it really couldn't have been done without this grant coming through.GÇ¥

Comcast Cares Day will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, at the Monroe Boys & Girls Club (261 Sky River Pkwy.). Comcast Cares Day is a national, single-day corporate volunteer event meant to promote community engagement and facilitate positive change. Although the project list has not yet been finalized, activities will include cleaning, painting, carpentry, pressure washing and landscaping.-á

"It's going to look like a totally different club when it's done,GÇ¥ Rasmussen said.

The annual Comcast Cares Day event is in its 14th iteration. To date, volunteers have dedicated more than 3.7 million hours while working to perform improvements on nearly 6,000 projects in communities across the U.S. and around the world.-á

The Monroe Boys & Girls Club was a candidate for Comcast Cares because of a lasting friendship between two former neighbors: Rasmussen and Travis Jernberg, Comcast's senior director of Customer and Technical Support. The two were neighbors in Monroe for five years before Jernberg moved to Denver in 2010, after receiving a promotion. They have remained in touch, and were chatting on the phone when the subject of Comcast Cares came up.-á

After listening to Rasmussen talk about his goals for the club, Jernberg realized that Comcast Cares would be a great way to help improve the facility. He encouraged Rasmussen to reach out to the Comcast field office in Everett. -á

Jernberg recently shared his thoughts about Rasmussen and the Monroe Boys & Girls Club with Comcast's Senior Director of Communications Walter Neary.-á

"Jeff has a unique vision for where he wants to take the club and has a ton of enthusiasm and dedication for kids,GÇ¥ Jernberg said. "Jeff's really committed to continuing to make the Monroe Boys & Girls Club a nice place for youth in the community.GÇ¥

Comcast Cares Day takes place every April so that it coincides with National Volunteer Month.-á

"We love doing projects with Boys & Girls Clubs because they help so many youth directly, and we know the club in Monroe is very important to the community,GÇ¥ said Comcast Vice President of External Affairs Steve Kipp. "Our Everett field office has a long track record of accomplishing an amazing amount of work on Comcast Cares Day, and we're all excited for what they and other community volunteers can do for the youth and community in Monroe.GÇ¥ -á

For the Cares Day event, Comcast and United Way were able to synchronize their efforts to ensure that the technology improvements could be accomplished alongside the planned Cares Day upgrades and renovations. While the $25,000 grant was made possible through United Way, Comcast played a key role in identifying prospective recipients and will provide volunteers to install the new technology.

Comcast External Affairs Manager Diem Ly explained that grant candidates were identified based on need. They also underwent analysis to determine where a health-oriented program, featuring Sqord, would have the greatest impact.-á

Similar in concept to a Fitbit, the Sqord application is specifically geared toward kids. Sqord offers kids the chance to earn points for steps and works to engage them in physical-fitness related activities and challenges. A watch-like Sqord device, called a "Booster,GÇ¥ fits around the child's wrist and syncs up to the Sqord software via a compatible mobile device or computer.-á -á

Monroe was considered for the grant along with another Snohomish County Boys & Girls Club facility and in the end, it was determined that Monroe would receive the funds. -á

"We're essentially going to turn it into a Sqord headquarters,GÇ¥ Ly said. "We're just really grateful that they feel really engaged with program and are excited to launch it.GÇ¥-á

To Rasmussen, the Sqord technology fits right in with his vision for the club: keeping kids engaged and healthy through physical activity, games and sports. He hopes to use a portion of the grant funding to procure a number of Sqord Boosters, which will be assigned to kids who are interested in using the technology. They will be able to use the Boosters anytime they are at the club. -á -á

"We're going to start seeing more formal and structured physical activity programs coming through our club than what we've ever seen before,GÇ¥ Rasmussen said.-á

He is hopeful to have the new Sqord program up and running by the beginning of May.-á

In addition to a number of Sqord Boosters, the grant will pay for new computers in the club's tech center and a tablet-style device that can be used to sync Sqord data anywhere in the club.-á

The Boys & Girls Club and Comcast are encouraging individuals and families to join Comcast volunteers during the Cares Day event. Comcast will provide activities for kids, giving them the opportunity to participate in the improvements. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.-á

"If you're available and would like to come and meet your local Comcast family, just follow the link and sign up today,GÇ¥ said Comcast Senior Engineer of Planning and Design Bill Searcy Jr.-á "We would love to have you join us. We're looking forward to brightening the club for the kids and community,GÇ¥

To sign up, visit www.


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