Attended by more than 150 supporters, the event was both a celebration of the first 12 months of operation and a fundraiser to help close the remaining funding gap. (Daniel Johnson/contributed)

Attended by more than 150 supporters, the event was both a celebration of the first 12 months of operation and a fundraiser to help close the remaining funding gap. (Daniel Johnson/contributed)

Breakfast marks first year of operation at Village Green Community Center | Village Green Update

They started arriving at 7 a.m. April 26 to attend the first annual breakfast at the Village Green, the now-beloved center that houses a Boys & Girls Club, library and senior center.

Attended by more than 150 supporters, the event was both a celebration of the first 12 months of operation and a fundraiser to help close the remaining funding gap.

Village Green Founda-tion Board Chairwoman Mary McClure welcomed guests and thanked sponsors: Kitsap Bank, Borrowed Kitchen Bakery and Market Fresh.

She introduced Floyd Jones of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, who gave a blessing.

The following statistics shared help tell the story of how the center has become known as “the heart of Kingston”:

  • 10,400 hot meals served to Boys & Girls Club members.
  • 1,080 Meals on Wheels lunches served to low-income seniors.
  • 51 nights open to people in need of shelter as part of the Severe Weather Shelter program.
  • A July blood drive that attracted a record 52 donors.
  • Library circulation up 46 percent in first three months.
  • 30 volunteers that staffed the front desk.
  • 1,700 visitors in March (not including Boys & Girls Club and library patrons).

Opening speaker Cary Bozeman, a Port of Bremerton commissioner and former two-term Bremerton mayor, spoke of the magnitude of the achievement.

“This type of legacy project does not just happen,” he said. “It takes vision, leadership and dedication. This building will serve the community for the next 200 years.”

Keynote speaker Adam Cornell, Snohomish County deputy prosecuting attorney and 1990 Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year, captivated the room with his remarks.

While in the foster care system, Cornell met the President of the United States in the Oval Office as national Youth of the Year. He went to law school, served in the Peace Corps and dedicated his life to public service as a prosecuting attorney.

“I am not a self-made man,” he said. “I am here because people helped me along the way.” He said the American dream is about more than achieving success; it is about giving back.

When Cornell asked guests to consider a thoughtful gift to help close the $591,000 Village Green funding gap, they took heart, giving an inspiring $67,000. This came on the heels of an announcement that four local families came forward in the past two weeks to collectively contribute $200,000.

The metaphor of a marathon was used more than once during the program. With $424,000 left to raise of the $9.1 million goal, we are in the final mile of the Village Green marathon. Watch for regular updates on our progress. As we had always imagined, the people of Kingston are joining hands intent on crossing the finish line together.

— Daniel Johnson is the executive director of the Village Green Foundation. Contact him at danielr johnson4@gmail.com.

They started arriving at 7 a.m. April 26 to attend the first annual breakfast at the Village Green, the now-beloved center that houses a Boys & Girls Club, library and senior center. (Daniel Johnson/contributed)

They started arriving at 7 a.m. April 26 to attend the first annual breakfast at the Village Green, the now-beloved center that houses a Boys & Girls Club, library and senior center. (Daniel Johnson/contributed)