The Bronx Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club celebrated its 50th anniversary at Yankee Stadium on Friday, November 15.
More than 250 guests attended the anniversary gala in the Yankee Stadium Legends Room for an awards show highlighting recipients from each decade of the club’s four signature programs: basketball, the aquatics program, performing arts and youth of the year.
Additionally, four families from the first decade of Kips Bay (1969 to 1979) were also awarded for their contributions to their communities and shared experiences of the club’s impact on their children’s lives.
Dan Quintero, executive director of Kips Bay, along with Tony Award-nominated actor, Christopher Neal Jackson, entertained guests at the venue.
“It’s such an honor to think that for five decades we’ve been able to really develop and pour into children’s lives and help create individuals that have gone on to be successful and respectfully serve their communities,” Quintero said. “That’s what we’re all about.”
A 104-year-old organization, the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club was founded in 1915 in the Kips Bay neighborhood in Manhattan, where residents were concerned about unsupervised children and teenagers roaming through the neighborhood.
The Kips Bay Neighborhood Association began offering sports and other activities to keep the youngsters busy and off the streets.
In 1969, the club relocated to the east Bronx to meet the borough’s needs for services to young people, opening the Lucille Palmaro Clubhouse at 1930 Randall Avenue in Castle Hill.
Kips Bay attracted the community’s children and teenagers and continued to grow to accommodate new members and more program offerings. In 1988, its name was formally changed to the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club to reflect that it was serving girls, as well as boys.
Kips Bay has since expanded opening nine locations in the borough serving more than 10,000 children each year.
For the past 50 years in the Bronx, Kips Bay has conducted programs that cover education, recreation, sports, youth empowerment, job readiness training, digital arts, music and performing arts.
“About 50 to 55 percent of the children we serve are from single parent homes, and Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club becomes a surrogate mom to many young people who need to be empowered and guided between 3 and 9 p.m. everyday,” Quintero said. “Parents feel very safe about the fact that while they’re at work, their youngsters are taking advantage of all the sports and programs that the club has to offer.”
In 1976, the club added a swimming pool and two new classrooms, and in 1984 an outdoor recreation center and a 9,000 square-foot auditorium became the home of its performing arts program.
In 2000, the club introduced the Coudert Sports Complex, which includes an ice rink, basketball court, baseball field and air dome for indoor soccer and games.
Now, they’re on the cusp of another major expansion project so that more children can attend Kips Bay.
“We just look forward to continuing success here and impacting children’s lives,” Quintero said.