Editor’s Note: The following Elkhart Truth editorial chronicles the accomplishments of the Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart County. On May 2, the 15th Annual Bids for Kids Dinner & Auction benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen, Ind., will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart. The event is driven by the RV industry, championed by Elkhart-based supplier Lippert Components Inc.

Every afternoon, hundreds of kids gather at one of four sites of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.

The longtime organization provides a place to go after school for children and teens in Goshen, Elkhart, Middlebury and Nappanee.

The importance of having a safe place for our children to gather can’t be overstated.

National Boys & Girls Club week is March 23-29. Across the country, clubs are having special events.

In Elkhart County, the clubs kept it pretty low key. A fundraiser for the Nappanee club is planned for Saturday night. That helps keep the doors open and the lights on so the members can do what they do every weekday: play games, learn and do their homework.

The Boys & Girls Clubs have been in Elkhart County since 1956, when Theda Clark Smith donated her Goshen home to become the Goshen Boys Club. Girls were allowed starting in 1989. Clubs opened in Nappanee in 1998, Middlebury in 2002 and Elkhart in 2010. For nearly 20 years, president and CEO Kevin Deary has led the organization and its growth.

The beauty of the clubs is how they serve the community as a whole. Rich and poor gather at the clubs. Black, white or Latino. They gather with staff members who look out for their well-being.

To read the entire editorial click here.