Francisco Ortiz, 16, went to a dance at the Boys & Girls Club four years ago. He hadn’t really wanted to get involved in extracurricular activities, but a dance sounded fun so he went.
His mother, who had encouraged him to go, picked up a few flyers for programs offered in the organization.
The Boys & Girls Club has become a cornerstone of his life. His future goal? To become an area branch director.
“You can come any day during the week and I’ll most likely be here,” he said. “It’s my second home.”
Ortiz is one of many teenagers and children featured in a new commercial for the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.
The Thursday night sneak preview for stars, their families and members of the staff featured movie snacks like popcorn and soda.
The commercial lasts 30 seconds, so it was screened several times. It will run on Comcast and Click! cable networks. It was made by the Tacoma-based advertising and communications firm JayRay, and Hand Crank Films took on 80 percent of the cost, said Jinnie Hanson, the Boys & Girls Club’s director of communications and marketing.
It’s a spot that promotes all South Puget Sound branches, but was filmed at the Gig Harbor location. Ortiz can be seen cooking as part of the Teen Cuisine program at the club, which started last fall with four participants. Ortiz refers to the group as the “founding fathers.”
In Teen Cuisine, students learn the basics of cooking from an experienced chef. Ortiz said lessons have ranged from baking to meats to desserts. His favorite is cooking artistically.
“You turn (food) into something beautiful,” he said.
The spot also features dancers Tiandra Grisham, 15, and Jazlyn Coburn, 16. To the dancers, who can be seen in one of many classes at the branch, the use of visuals is an important element of the commercial.
“Instead of telling people with words, it’s showing people,” Grisham said.
Grisham and Coburn met at the Boys & Girls Club. From there the friendship has expanded.
“I go to her house, like, everyday,” Coburn said.
Coburn said she enjoys using the space at the branch to make up dances. Grisham hopes to pursue dance further.
Being on camera was exciting and both dancers want to do it again.
“It was really fun and a great experience to have,” Grisham said. “I loved it.”
South Puget Sound CEO Mark Starnes said a commercial is something the organization has been hoping to do for a long time. It’s one thing to tell possible participants and donors about the good work, but it’s another thing to show them.
He defined it as taking the “elevator speech” and making it a video.
“It’s just a great way for us to get our story out,” he said.
Kathleen Deakins, president and co-owner of JayRay, said that the commercial works “because nothing sells the club and the experience like the kids themselves.”
For Deakins, who wrote the spot’s script, it was a way to give back to those that give to others.
“The club brings so much to the lives of kids and their families,” she said.
The Boys & Girls Club of South Puget Sound serves more than 1,550 youth from ages 6 to 18 a day. It covers Pierce, Mason and Kitsap counties with 16 locations. The Cheney Family Branch serves the greater Gig Harbor area.
Karen Miller: 253-358-4155 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Gateway_Karen