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MICHAEL PHELPS VISITS BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 28, 2014
For more information,
Contact: Natalie Lester
Clubs announce new pool to be named after Knox Juvenile Court judge
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history with 22 medals, coached the swim team at Haslam Family Club University today. He also participated in an announcement that the new pool planned for the facility will be named in honor of Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin.
Irwin benefited from the Boys & Girls Clubs as a youth and has been deeply committed to the organization as an adult.
“When we open our new facility, the pool will be the Tim Irwin Aquatic Center,” said Lisa Hurst, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley president and CEO. “As a past member, Tim has supported our clubs in a number of ways from founding the Tim Irwin Food City Bass Tournament to serving on multiple committees and our board. We’re thrilled to celebrate his commitment to our organization in this way.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley announced the “Our Kids, Our Future” campaign last fall, which will allow the clubs to serve, more kids, more often, in a more meaningful way.
The funds will be used to rebuild and expand the Caswell Avenue location into a central hub for all Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley activities and expand services to help more youth across the community. The new facility will include a pool, gymnasium, teen center, technology center, medical clinic and administrative offices.
Additionally, the number of youth served by the Boys & Girls Clubs will increase to 7,500 annually by 2018. The clubs play a significant role in keeping kids on the right path.
It costs taxpayers $120 per day to incarcerate a juvenile in Knox County, but it costs just $10 a day to send a child to the Boys & Girls Clubs. Yet, in 2012, 7,728 juvenile offenders were served through Knox County Juvenile Court alone. Irwin wants to see these kids in the clubs, not his courtroom.
When Irwin was inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame in 2009, he said, “I am not a judge that wants his court to get bigger or larger. I want mine to close. I do not want to look at another young face and say, ‘Young man/young lady, you have to be tried as an adult.’ I don’t want to do that, and I know how to stop it. My children need one thing: someone in their life that cares.”
Phelps praised the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley’s fundraising efforts and especially applauded the addition of a new pool.
“I learned to swim when I was 7 years old,” Phelps said. “The skills gave me a sense of safety and confidence. I’ve seen a lot of pools in my career, and this swim team needs a new one! The kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs will love and benefit from the new pool.”
During his time in Knoxville, Phelps also visited William Watson III, a member of the Haslam Family Club University swim team. In 2012, William received the inaugural Head & Shoulders Confidence Award from Phelps at the London Olympics. The Phelps Foundation supports select Boys & Girls Clubs to implement its ‘im’ program, which teaches children to swim in efforts to grow the sport and encourage healthy lifestyles. The “im” designates Phelps’ signature swim event, the individual medley, while also representing the self-affirming “I am.”
The “Our Kids, Our Future” campaign is not complete and needs $2 million to meet its $14 million goal.
To learn more or make a donation, members of the community should visit OurKidsOurFuture.com. Supporters also are encouraged to share the clubs’ story on social media using #OurKidsOurFuture.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley began providing opportunities for youth in Knoxville in 1943 and has now grown into a four-county service area. Seventeen facilities exist in Knox, Blount, Loudon and North Anderson counties of the Tennessee Valley, and the clubs employ over 260 full-time and part-time staff members. Through the Boys & Girls Clubs, young people are shown that someone cares, and there are concerned and capable adults to whom they can turn for assistance. More than 6,300 at-risk boys and girls take advantage of the programs, activities and services provided by the clubs. They benefit from trained and caring staff and volunteers who help young people take control of their lives, envision productive futures and reach their goals.