Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Boys & Girls Clubs


A special place for families opens in South Tacoma

Metro Parks' STAR Center is open in South Tacoma. (Russ Carmack/Courtesy of Metro Parks Tacoma)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The era of tight budgets and declining revenues has had at least one positive side effect: It’s forced many public agencies to rethink their old fiefdom mentalities and focus on how they can partner to provide services in economical ways that don’t overlap.

That kind of new thinking is on display in spades at the South End Recreational Adventure Campus, which includes a Boys & Girls Club Topping Hope Center, Gray Middle School, Metro Parks ballfields and the park district’s shiny new STAR Center, which opens for public use today.  (A community open house will be held May 19.)

The STAR Center – STAR stands for South Tacoma Activity and Recreation – is a $16 million facility on South 66th Street that replaces the South Park and Manitou community centers. It’s designed to complement the recreational and educational programming provided by the Tacoma School District and the Boys & Girls Club. Read more »


New HOPE for some of city’s most deserving children

TCF Architecture drawing of new Donald G. Topping Regional HOPE Center in South Tacoma

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

This is a big day for Tacoma kids – and for the community. It’s dedication day for the new $8.5 million Donald G. Topping Regional HOPE Center, home of the Henry T. Schatz Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

Translated, that means children in some of the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods will have a fun, safe and educational place to go after school. The center – located in the South Tacoma Manitou neighborhood – opens for business on Tuesday.

Mark Starnes, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, says the “fun stuff” – like computers, sports, arts and crafts – is how the organization gets youngsters in the door. The important stuff is what happens after that: helping equip them to handle difficulties in their lives and prepare them for brighter futures.

“Kids face a lot of challenges. Whether it’s struggling with school, conflict with another kid or something going on at home – we get them to talk about it,” Starnes said, citing the organization’s trained, professional staff. “When you talk to alumni, what they remember is a particular adult or two who helped them, encouraged them, at a time they really needed it.” Read more »


Blindsided East Siders, give HOPE a chance

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Parents on Tacoma’s East Side and City Council members are feeling blindsided by news that the East Side Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound is closing in mid-August.

They have every right to feel that way. The club’s leadership wasn’t out in front about the closure decision made in January after the club’s building was determined to be too expensive to maintain. The news trickled out instead of being announced.

Mark Starnes, the South Puget Sound clubs’ interim chief executive officer, explained that the decision was not one that would be reversed, so holding public meetings about it “just didn’t seem honest.” Read more »