On August 23, 2023

Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County: Inspiring and mentoring kids to ensure Vermont’s future

 

For nearly three decades, Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County (BGCRC) has navigated challenges as well as triumphs in providing safe and supportive places for kids 5-15 years old, to learn, play, and grow.

The need to nurture Vermont’s youth has never been greater — a cause that Caitlin Perry has been intensely involved with, personally and professionally, for many years. Perry, a vice president in the Rutland office of UBS (the multinational investment bank and financial services company), has served as chair of BGCRC’s board since 2020. As such, Perry has been the chief catalyst driving BGCRC strategy, operations, and fiscal solvency.

“This past year has come with its own unique challenges and opportunities,” Perry said in a recent interview. “Our volunteers and staff continue to deal with the reverberations of the pandemic on youth development and mental health,” she added.

BGCRC currently hosts about 350 members daily, under the guidance of adults who inspire and mentor them, at six sites throughout Rutland County. Nearly 30% of BGCRC’s members come from single-family homes, and 75% qualify for free and reduced lunch.

“Our community recognizes the enormous need for the quality after-school care that Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County provides,” Perry noted. “Securing the resources to do it, is essential.”

To be sure, Perry is gratified that over the past 12 months BGCRC has increased its positive momentum.

“We have great momentum, are growing our membership and the youth we serve every month.  In the coming school year, we are focusing on youth mental health; boosting enrichment programs for career and academic opportunities; and continuing development and education of staff, to cultivate a culture where staff and youth thrive.”

“Exposing young people to varied opportunities and experiences breeds self-confidence, social and emotional resiliency, and gives them something to look forward to,” Perry pointed out.  “They have the opportunity to meet and learn from new people, in a safe, structured setting.”

Perry’s leadership of BGCRC has provided several reasons to celebrate. Among them: hiring and onboarding a new executive director, Nicole Rice, who joined in October 2022.  

As Perry noted, “Nicole’s extensive experience in mental health, both inside and outside the school environment, has been a crucial asset.”

In addition, BGCRC has reinforced its partnerships with local schools; boosted collaboration with Wonderfeet Kids Museum and the Rutland Recreation department; secured a grant that has helped the organization expand its services for youths who require more one-on-one support; and refurbished the flagship BGCRC on Merchant’s Row, which Perry credits to loyal employees, volunteers, and the generosity of Home Depot.

Cognizant of the requirements of donors, Perry noted that BGCRC’s leaders monitor the organization’s impact and performance through regular member surveys. Rated high are rules for how members should treat each other; opportunities to talk to an adult if they have a problem; and BGCRC’s safe and positive environment.

Perry credits her father, who owned a hardware store, for her strong work ethic, commitment to problem-solving, and respect for diverse customers — skills she says she learned at a very young age.

Before graduating from the University of Vermont in 2010 with a major in political science and business, Perry served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. “I knew the military would provide structure and discipline, plus allow me to see the world and receive an education without taking on student loan debt,” explained Perry.

Following the military, Perry worked at TD Bank, “cramming classes in” at UVM, as she put it.  It was at TD that she first became excited about a career in finance. Perry’s subsequent accreditations, certifications, and licenses led to her current role as vice president, wealth management in the Rutland office of UBS.

Of that role, Perry said, “I most enjoy building meaningful relationships with my clients, through honest communication and education about the positive impact of financial planning on their lives. I am passionate about healing, connecting, and mentoring in all facets of life,” Perry added.  

In addition to her leadership of BGCRC’s board, Perry serves on the boards of the Paramount Theater and StartUp Rutland. She has also served as president and board member of Rutland South Rotary, whose focus is on youth and education. 

A native of Rutland Town, Perry lives in the house she grew up in, which she bought from her mom in 2021. Late last year, Perry became engaged to Kieran P. Keefe, who works as director of technology for the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region (of VT).

As the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County continues to fulfill its promise as the place where kids can learn, play, and grow, in a safe and supportive environment, the very future of Vermont is at the heart of its essential mission. In our own hearts as well, should be the zeal for ensuring that this vital organization continues to thrive.

On Sept. 7, the Killington-Rutland community can celebrate BGCRC’s many achievements as well as help advance the organization’s mission, at a fundraiser being held at Lake Bomoseen Lodge and Tap Room, beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $125, which includes food, drinks, and live music. Visit: biddingforgood.com/bgclubrutland.  

For more information about BGCRC, including how to volunteer, visit: Rutlandbgclub.org/info.

Liz DiMarco Weinmann, MBA, is principal and owner of Liz DiMarco Weinmann Consulting, L3C, based in Rutland, serving charitable and educational institutions: lizdimarcoweinmann.com.

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