Grand Opening of Regence Boys & Girls Club Marks a Milestone in Historic New Columbia Community Revitalization

Largest gift in Regence history helps the Club open its doors to area

youths on September 28

Sep 25, 2007, 01:00 ET from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon

    PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 1,200 youths in the
 New Columbia community now have a new place to play, learn and grow with
 the grand opening of the Regence Boys & Girls Club. Construction on the
 Club was supported with a $500,000 "Break the Barrier" grant from Regence,
 the largest in the company's history. The facility is Portland's first
 completely new Club in 11 years.
     "The opening of the Regence Boys & Girls Club marks a historic turning
 point in the growth of our community and the future of children and young
 people in our city. We are proud be part of this significant step toward a
 safer, healthier future for Portland's young people," said Mark Ganz,
 president and CEO of Regence. "Our partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs
 represents our shared commitment to helping our young people become
 productive, caring members of our community."
     Regence and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area invite
 the public and the media to join them on September 28 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. to
 celebrate the grand opening of the new Regence Boys & Girls Club with an
 afternoon of festivities. Jazz pianist Michael Allen Harrison will provide
 entertainment and guests will hear from local officials from the Housing
 Authority and Portland City Council. As part of this special event,
 children from the community will present Regence with some special
 commemorative gifts.
     The Club is part of the largest neighborhood revitalization project
 ever undertaken in Oregon. It is a key element of the $150 million, 82-acre
 New Columbia community, which is a driving force behind the ongoing
 revitalization of North Portland.
     The new Club offers more than just a place to go after school. A recent
 Columbia University study found that the location of Boys & Girls Clubs in
 public housing developments had a significant impact on the quality of life
 for residents. The study also showed that youth from public housing who
 participated in a Boys & Girls Club had a higher percentage of academic
 achievement and fewer behavioral problems in school.
     "The Regence Boys & Girls Club is a true beacon of hope for the youth
 of this community who need us most," said Lisabeth Marziello, chief
 executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area.
 "Regence's demonstration of leadership through this investment will have a
 direct impact upon the young people of this community by changing the
 landscape of opportunities available. The Regence Boys & Girls Club will be
 a place where kids can play, have fun, experience joy, laugh, and learn
 about themselves and the larger world they live in. But most importantly,
 the Club will be a place where children will receive positive guidance that
 nurtures their character and enables them to become productive, responsible
 and caring adults who give back to their community."
     About Boys & Girls Clubs
     Boys & Girls Clubs of America comprises a national network of some
 4,200 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving more than 4.4 million
 young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as "The
 Positive Place for Kids," Clubs provide guidance-oriented programs on a
 daily basis for children 6 - 18 years old, conducted by a full-time
 professional staff. Key programs emphasize character and leadership
 development, educational enhancement, career preparation, health and life
 skills, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation. Locally, the Boys &
 Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area has established itself as the
 premier youth guidance and development agency, providing nationally proven
 life-saving programs to more than 13,000 young people throughout Portland
 and its surrounding communities.
     About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
     Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon provides medical, dental and
 related coverage for about one million members in Oregon and in Clark
 County, Washington. It's part of Regence, the largest health insurer in the
 northwest and intermountain states, collectively covering nearly three
 million people. Regence and its Plans are not-for-profit independent
 licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Nearly one in
 three Americans has health care coverage through Blue Plans. For more
 information, visit

SOURCE Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon