Supporting Our Kids
What if someone told you that you could take your family out for a great time, sample fantastic food, see friends downtown, and in the process raise money for an organization that keeps kids local safe and helps them reach their potential?
Well, you can do all that at the 17th Annual Chili Cook Off! It’s this Friday, September 11 at 6:00 pm at the Alex Thomas Plaza in downtown Ukiah with proceeds benefitting the Ukiah Boys and Girls Club.
The statistics are clear: keeping kids and teens busy after school is incredibly important. Young people are most likely to fall victim to a crime right after school. They are three times more likely to use alcohol, marijuana, and other dangerous drugs if they do not participate in afterschool activities, and they are two-and-a-half times less likely to graduate from high school.
As it has for the last 17 years, Granite Construction is hosting this fantastic event. Under the leadership of Granite Construction’s Jason Woelbing, employees from the Boys and Girls Club will be joined by volunteers from the South Ukiah Rotary, the California Conservation Corps, and Kohl’s Cares organization. With their support, more than 20 local businesses and community groups will compete for recognition as the top chili cooks—and other fun awards like team spirit or crookedest team.
It’s a lot of fun for everyone who participates, and proceeds from the event help assure the Ukiah Boys and Girls Club has the funding it needs to provide afterschool care for our community’s kids.
According to Boys and Girls Club of Ukiah executive director, Liz Elmore, this event is one of the club’s biggest fundraisers of the year, and a huge reason why the Boys and Girls Club can afford to provide such fantastic afterschool and summer programs while keeping membership fees incredibly low.
The club prides itself on being a safe place to learn and grow, all while having fun. They work hard to ensure that every kid is on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future; demonstrate good character and citizenship; and learn to live a healthy lifestyle.
As you might imagine, membership fees alone can’t fund an operation like this—with top-notch staff and excellent facilities. Not by a long shot.
These days, more and more kids need a safe afterschool program, stretching the organization’s budget more than ever. In 2013, 90 kids a day utilized the club’s afterschool program, but that number has grown to almost 180 kids a day.
It only costs $50 dollars for the whole year to become a member of the Boys and Girls Club. This membership covers the cost of participating during the school year and the summer program. That’s an entire year of afterschool supervision, mentoring, homework assistance, and daylong supervision during the summer.
This annual Chili Cook Off is successful because so many committed people and organizations—like Granite Construction and our local service clubs—donate their time to help.
In 2014, the Savings Bank of Mendocino County won first place for its chili, as well as Best Dressed and the People’s Choice awards. First Presbyterian Church’s chili won second place, and Rainbow Ag won third. Defatte Equipment was the crookedest club last year, the hottest chili award went to Coyote Valley Casino and Ken Fowler rounded out the awards with the best booth.
This year, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the crookedest team, helping to judge some great chili, and looking for the team with the most spirit.
I hope I’ll see you there, because this fundraiser is most successful when we all join in. Come on down to the Chili Cook-off this Friday night; buy an armband, try some chili, and help support one of Ukiah’s best organizations – our Boys and Girls Club.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey – Chief of Police