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August 18, 2017
How Armstrong World Industries and the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster help kids thrive
Fig connects people with local shopping, dining, arts & entertainment, organizations, services, and events. At Fig, we envision a different kind of media message—one that energizes a thriving, sustainable local economy and revitalizes the community.
Fig also sees the importance of spreading, investing in, and showcasing the work nonprofit and for-profit organizations do to strengthen the community.
We recently interviewed Scott McLellan, Chief Operations Officer, and Karen Schloer, Chief Executive Officer, from the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, along with Jennifer Johnson, Director of Global Corporate Communications, from Armstrong World Industries, to explore the partnership that’s helping kids thrive.
An Introduction: the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster
“I know that for three to five hours a day, kids don’t have to worry about anything but being a kid—and that’s what inspires me.”
Scott McLellan is the Chief Operations Officer at the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, helping to facilitate organizational and programming schedules. Once a Club kid himself, he knows what it’s like to be in the kids’ shoes.
“Having been a Club kid when I was growing up, I know first-hand what a great place the Club is,” said McLellan. “As a Club professional, I now have the opportunity to be that catalyst for change to kids here in Lancaster and Columbia.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster has a mission to enable all young people, especially those in need, to become productive, caring, and responsible adults in the community. Through engaging programs that offer health and lifestyle skills, education and career development, character and leadership training, health and fitness enrichment, and arts cultivation, the organization strives to create a holistic experience to ensure each kid has opportunity to grow.
For over 75 years the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster has been a staple in the community. Nearly 3,000 people have been through the programs each year. Between daily summer and afterschool programs, the staff keeps busy creating a space that’s safe, positive, and encourages opportunity.
For Karen Schloer, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, helping these kids is critical.
“The Club creates a home away from home for kids that need a reprieve from the chronic stress they experience at home and on the streets in their neighborhood,” said Schloer. “Here, kids get to be kids. They get to have fun in an engaging way that has academic and character enrichment woven into all programs and interactions they experience. Generation after generation, the Club has changed the lives of kids in our community for more than 75 years.”
For Schloer and McLellan, the work never stops in the mission to serve. That’s why it’s so important for fundraising and sponsorships—they help provide the financial means to turn visionary ideas and concepts into a reality that will further enhance the kids’ quality of life.
And when Armstrong World Industries learned about the two renovations the club was planning and capital campaign to fund it, the company saw an opportunity to help.
A Partnership Begins: Armstrong World Industries and the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster
“Supporting impactful organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, particularly when they’re improving their buildings through renovation, is a perfect fit for us because that’s what Armstrong World Industries is all about.”
Jennifer Johnson, Director of Global Corporate Communications, has a special spot in her heart for local initiatives since AWI is based in Lancaster. And the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster offered the perfect opportunity to blend AWI’s ceiling and wall product, design and construction expertise with philanthropic need.
“Our purpose is to make a positive difference in spaces where people live, work, learn, heal and play,” said Johnson. “One of the ways we do that is by providing products that offer great acoustics.”
For the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, the partnership couldn’t have come at a better time.
“This was honestly a dream come true for a local non-profit like ours,” said Schloer. “The Club looks for funding opportunities but we always like to inspire our donors to truly see and feel what we do and how it matters to the community.”
To ensure the right needs were met, team members from AWI and the AWI Foundation toured the Club for a first-hand experience. Because of this, both the foundation and the company was inspired to participate, the foundation with a financial commitment and the company with in-kind products, design support, and installation at the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster on 116 S. Water St. and the space on S. Duke later this year.
The Project: ceiling transformation and noise reduction
“We have made it our mission to help make buildings perform better,” said Johnson. “With ceilings and walls that are sustainable, that absorb and block sound, and that are safe.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster loves having kids from all over the community participate in the programs. But there is one thing that inevitably follows kids wherever they go: noise. And because of how the initial ceilings and walls were structured, the noise was only elevated and projected.
To help with this, in the first phase of the project, AWI used their extremely talented team of ceiling experts to revitalize the gym and recreation spaces. This huge undertaking refreshed the look while diffusing noise—and that has completely changed the atmosphere at the Club.
“Having the new acoustical ceilings and walls at the gym has been mind-blowing,” said McLellan. “It has changed the space from being chaotic to more of an intimate space. I love it. The staff likes the fact that they don’t have to yell to get the attention of the kids anymore either.”
“It was a great upgrade for the kids and staff,” said Schloer. “The gym is now a room with physical activity and not just a warehouse where kids play ball. It was exhausting to organize a productive activity for the kids or to just talk. You can have a normal conversation. The kids are calmer because the noise is not bouncing around and making them act crazy.”
The entire project ensured quality aesthetics and acoustics blended to create a place kids could truly be kids.
“This speaks to why we’re in business, and that’s because we make a positive difference in the spaces where people live, work, learn, heal and play,” said Johnson. “We are passionate about that.”
“We are so thrilled with this additional enhancement in function and in appearance,” said Schloer. “The warehouse feel is gone and now it feels like a gym that has an intimate feel to it.”
“Community means so many things today, particularly with social media, but it really boils down to partnership, collaboration and support in an effort to build and share in a rich, vital place and system,” said Johnson. “And business can play an important role in fostering and modeling that attitude.”
The partnership between Armstrong World Industries and the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster has only just begun. The ceiling installation and development was a first step in multiple new opportunities down the road.
“This is an ongoing relationship that has created opportunities for the AWI employees to get involved,” said Schloer. “It has extended our family of supporters to the executives at AWI, the sales teams, the designers and the installers.”
And it looks like that relationship isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
“The bigger project is to address the ceiling in the new Clubhouse that we are building this fall,” said McLellan. “The creative team is working through the ideas with our architect to create a dynamic space for kids.”
With all these projects, the focus is always on making the experience more enriching and beneficial for the thousands of kids that come through the doors.
“A thriving Lancaster County is important for our company, our employees and all of us who live here,” said Johnson. “We are proud to call Lancaster home.”
“We live, work, heal, learn and grow in this space every day, as do our kids, our future, and the next generation of our leaders,” said Schloer. “Our kids are often forgotten about or passed over because of budget restraints, but not in this case. AWI has made our kids as important as any other kid. I am lucky enough to know past Club members that are now adults, and I am very proud to introduce them as successful adults. They, in turn, are thrilled to talk about the Club and the days of their childhood, where they made their memories, did their homework, made lifelong friends and built strong positive adult relationships with Club staff.”
Find out more about the mission of the Boys & Girls Club in Lancaster and see how you can volunteer, donate, and help the organization continue to provide a safe, positive space for kids. Visit their website at www.bgclanc.org.
Learn more about Armstrong World Industries at www.armstrong.com.