MERIDIAN, Idaho — Two big donations will enable the Boys & Girls Club of Ada County to provide free youth counseling services and healthy lifestyle programming at seven locations.

Blue Cross of Idaho and the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health are providing $122,000 in grants to the nonprofit.

The grants will allow the Boys & Girls Club to employ a full-time, licensed professional counselor to support the mental health needs of children who attend any of the seven club locations in Ada County. The funding also will help support the Triple Play Program, which helps at-risk children improve their overall health and well-being through wellness programing focusing on the mind, body and soul.

“Blue Cross of Idaho and the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health are pleased to partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ada County and its mission to enable all young people to reach their full potential and grow beyond the classroom,” said Charlene Maher, President and CEO of Blue Cross of Idaho. “Idaho’s children are our future – they will be our new leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors and teachers. Giving children the chance to build healthy habits today sets a solid foundation and a chance for each to thrive as they become adults.”

The Boys & Girls Club hired a part-time counselor in October to provide services for children who were unable to obtain them. The demand for the services was so great the Club wanted to make the counselor position a full-time position, which will double the number of counseling appointments and allow for group sessions and parenting classes.

“Our goal is to help instill healthy habits that will carry through to adulthood,” said Colleen Braga, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Ada County. “It is easier to develop good habits in kids than to curb unhealthy habits in adults.”

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