With a wait list of over 60 children prior to school starting in 2019, the Boys & Girls Club of
Bloomington-Normal faced a predicament they needed to resolve quickly. The need for
after school care for kindergarten through fifth grade is evident in our community and while the
club never wants to turn away families, they were unable to provide a safe space for those kids
with the space limitation of their current building.
The Teen CLUB program was housed in the same space as the youth at 1615 Illinois St. The Club
determined if they moved the 50 – 60 teen members they served daily to another location,
they could open up the wait list for the younger members.
The Club and First Christian Church of Bloomington has had a positive relationship in the past;
the church hosts an annual drive to provide necessary supplies to the Club, the Club and its
members volunteered at the Block Party, Club youth have helped serve at special events and,
most recently, the Junior Leaders program ran an eight week program out of the church this
When asked, the leadership at First Christian Church stepped up to help. “When the Boys and
Girls Club approached First Christian Church about hosting their Teen Club, we quickly said yes.
We are excited to partner with an organization that guides and supports our local teens and
makes a difference in our community,” says Rev. Jim Warren.
In October of 2019, the two organizations came to an agreement, and the teens moved into
their new space. Teen member, Damien, said “We really love our new space. First, we don’t
have to deal with the little kids anymore and we have so much more space. I like the different
activities here, there is something new every day.”
“The partnership has been amazing. The church has welcomed us with open arms, often times
volunteering and providing goodies and snacks for the teens,” Chris Deering, the Teen CLUB
Unit Director said, “Our teens finally have a place to call their own. We are not only able to
serve more youth, but we are able to offer new programs which was limited at the Clubhouse
due to the lack of space.”
On December 10, 2019, the new Teen Club was officially chartered by the Boys & Girls Club of
America, making this Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal’s third Club site.
“It is crucial that we continue to work with our community partners to grow our outreach to
kids and families that need us. We are so grateful for the support we receive from First
Christian Church and are excited to build this new club location as we work toward a new
building at Sunnyside Park,” said Tony Morstatter, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal.
The Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal and First Christian Church invite everyone to their
Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting celebration on Tuesday, January 28th, 4:30pm at First
Christian Church, 401 W. Jefferson St., Bloomington, IL 61701.