By Nathan Ureta – UW Newslab
The Ballard Boys and Girls Club is beginning a new era with director Shelley Puariea, who transferred from the Federal Way and Auburn Boys and Girls Club last year. Though the switch was officially announced in September, the Ballard area is already proving to be a welcoming neighborhood for the new director.
After serving in her previous job for 11 years, Puariea replaces Mark Hendricks, who was director of the Ballard location for 25 years. Hendricks in turn is replacing Puariea in Federal Way.
“We’ve been able to talk about what’s needed at both clubs,” Puariea said. “He’s come here and helped me with the transfer, I’ve gone to Federal Way and helped him with the transfer. We’re working together to make it a good transition for everybody.”
In Ballard, Puariea wants to expand on Hendricks’ efforts. She hopes to reach out to more families with pre-K and kindergarten-aged children, a practice that was introduced under Hendricks. She also has plans for GAINS (Graduation Assistance Impacting Needy Students), a dropout-prevention program that reaches out to high school students through tutors, counselors and teachers.
She also has some additional ideas, which regional director Pat Murray assures will improve upon the strong foundation that already exists in Ballard.
“Ballard is a world-class Boys and Girls Club,” he said. “Shelley stepped into a very stable club … and now being able to add her skills and expertise and vision is only going to make it better.”
Puariea plans on starting programs she’s seen in other Boys and Girls Club locations, such as a Keystone Club, which offers community-service opportunities for teens. She also hopes to bring soccer summer camps to Ballard, which would help keep kids active throughout the year.
Puariea looks forward to becoming part of the Ballard community. She has joined the Ballard Rotary Club and has been in contact with the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and local schools. Being connected to the community in Federal Way was how she was able to find support for extracurricular activities, such as facilities for their athletic programs.
While Puariea misses her time in Federal Way, she shares a passion for her work regardless of location.
“Boys and Girls Clubs mean so much to [Hendricks and me] that it’s more of a lifestyle; it’s not just a 9-to-5 job,” she said. “The kids that you help every day are really why you come to the club.”
To enquire about the programs and facilities offered by the Ballard Boys and Girls Club click here.