‘OK, we did it!’
Last updated 3/27/2019 at Noon
Great weather, familiar faces, and heartfelt thanks and appreciation were all on display at the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club’s ribbon cutting ceremony last Thursday, making the club’s opening “officially official.”
The new club opened in January, and a ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for February, but due to the snow and ice that paralyzed most of western Washington for roughly two weeks, the ceremony was pushed back to March.
The old facility, located on Second Street in Old Town, was established in 1961. The building had been used long before that, and was added to the city’s register of historic places.
The new facility is in Harbour Pointe near the Mukilteo police and fire stations, and is within walking distance from four schools.
Former Mukilteo mayor, former 21st District representative, and current Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan was the event’s emcee, which was fitting, as Sullivan assisted with getting state funds to help construct the new facility while serving in the state Legislature.
“I hate to say this because I have to age myself; I walked into the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club in 1968,” Sullivan said. “And we all know (club director) Chuck (Davis); he beat me by four years.”
Sullivan then asked Davis, “How old are you, Chuck?” to which Davis responded jokingly, “I can’t hear you.”
Sullivan said the club has been, and will continue to be, “a place to go and a way to grow.”
“We have to realize that times change, populations shift, and airports open,” Sullivan said as a plane took off from Paine Field. “This first started around 2004 or 2005 and I called (Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County Executive Director) Bill Tsoukalas and said, ‘There’s a piece of property in Mukilteo that’s about 13 acres. The state of Washington owns it the Department of Natural Resources and maybe there’s a chance we can acquire this property for a future Boys & Girls Club.’”
Sullivan said he and Tsoukalas were told it may take a few years to get funding from the state, but in 2006 he kept pushing for the funding and eventually got enough votes to get the $4 million needed to purchase the property.
Mayor Jennifer Gregerson spoke about the importance of the Boys & Girls Club to the Mukilteo community. Gregerson, raised in Mukilteo, said she spent a lot of time at the old facility on Second Street and was happy to be a part of getting the new facility built.
“I think we have such a great asset with this space here,” she said. “It’s amazing how far we’ve come. Congratulations to the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club, and to our entire community and the kids who get the honor and the pleasure of growing up in this space today.”
The building is named “The Senator Paull Shin Building” after former 21st Legislative District Representative and Senator Paull Shin.
Shin was a 21st Legislative District Representative from 1993 to 1995 and a state senator from 1999 to 2014. He resigned his seat after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He was the first Korean-American to serve in the Washington state Legislature.
Shin’s daughter, Alisa Shin-Passey, spoke on her father’s behalf, and was emotional that the community honored her father in that way.
Shin-Passey spoke of her father’s life story, which consisted of being born in Korea and being homeless for most of his youth before becoming a “houseboy” for United States Army soldiers.
In 1954, a dentist named Ray Paull adopted Shin and took him to the United States.
“Since he grew up on the streets he didn’t have education, but he really wanted to study and learn and better himself,” Shin-Passey said. “So my grandmother, who was a teacher, and my grandfather spent a year teaching him to read and to write, and history and math. All the things he’d need to get a GED, which he accomplished.”
Shin went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s, and a Ph.D. He then taught at Shoreline Community College for 26 years before serving in the state Legislature.
“He has always placed a strong desire to help the youth accomplish their dreams, and he feels that education has always been a part of that,” Shin-Passey said. “This building, and the inside is incredible. It’s a lot different than the Boys & Girls Club that we spent time in in downtown Edmonds.
“He would be so impressed at the opportunities this community has been able to provide for the youth he is a little beyond public appearances, but he would have been truly humbled and honored to be remembered this way.”
Davis, who has been a longtime fixture in the Mukilteo community,
“Raise your hand if you heard me back in 2006 saying we’re going to build a new Boys & Girls Club,” Davis asked, while most of the crowd raised their hands. “OK, we did it! Down on Second Street, that club serviced kids for over 50 years a lot of kids.”
Davis said the new facility is state of the art, and offers more capabilities for helping Mukilteo’s youth.
“What we can do here, is probably 100 times more than we could do down there. If you go in the computer lab, we have 22 computers at the old club we had three,” he said. “At the old club we had a TV here we have 14 monitors.”
The club started servicing kids on Jan. 7. Davis said attendance has boomed since then.
“From that day to now, with club attendance and our ‘super school’ sites, we’re seeing over 500 kids a day.”
Davis was joined by Sullivan, Gregerson, Shin-Passey, and the family of Peter Zieve, who donated $200,000 to the new facility, and many others in cutting the ribbon in front of the building. Zieve’s sons Max and Daniel cut the ribbon.
@New club, new capabilities@
The new facility has a room dedicated to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and robotics) as well as a computer room with more than 20 computers, and a teen lounge with gaming consoles and monitors.
Additionally, a large room at the front of the facility has multiple ping-pong tables, and the new gymnasium is larger than the entire old facility on Second Street.
The Boys & Girls Club also owns land for baseball and soccer fields next to the building.