Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington receives honor

Boys & Girls Clubs of America names Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington the Club of the Year in New Mexico

Noel Lyn Smith,
Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington members play a game before first rotation announcements are made on Thursday at the organization's location on Sullivan Avenue.

FARMINGTON — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington has been named Club of the Year in New Mexico by the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Maria Rodman became the nonprofit's executive director in August 2015, and since then, the agency has embarked on a plan to increase its presence and service in Farmington.

Rodman said in a telephone interview today that the designation was the result of work and dedication by the organization's board of directors, staff and community partners.

"It's been an incredible year," she said.

Michael Castellanoz plays table tennis on Thursday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington site on Sullivan Avenue in Farmington.

The organization operates five sites in Farmington — the main club on Sullivan Avenue and the Hilltop Unit on Troy King Road, as well as three school sites at Apache, Bluffview and McCormick elementary schools.

Work is underway to start a school site next year at Rocinante High School, Rodman added.

On average, the clubs serve more than 2,300 children a year and approximately 450 children every day, Rodman said.

Within the last year, the organization has experienced a 40 percent increase in members enrolled in after-school programs and a 30 percent increase in members participating in athletic programs. The daily average for summer program attendance has doubled, Rodman said.

"We're so thrilled at the growth we have experienced. It makes available a safe and supportive place, a learning place, a fun place for kids in our community," she said.

Casey Crotty, chairman of the board of directors, commended the organization's growth and said it continues to receive "tremendous" community involvement.

"I think I can speak for the entire board by saying we are absolutely thrilled," Crotty said about the recognition.

From left, Jazaida Flores and Sonya Garcia participate in a library activity on Thursday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington site on Sullivan Avenue.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington received a second recognition when Rodman was named Newcomer of the Year for the Southwest region.

The honor recognizes a CEO who has made a significant impact in the last year. Rodman beat out CEOs from clubs in eight states to win the award.

Rodman called it "a collective award," adding that leaders don't lead in isolation.

"You don't do this work in isolation, it's all these people that have come forth to make that impact," she said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.