BGCA started in 1860 with one club in Connecticut that provided young boys with an alternative to roaming the streets. In 1906 several clubs across the country affiliated and created a national organization, and in 1990 (yes, 130 years later) the name was updated to recognize that girls are also part of the cause.
During the pandemic, BGCA continues to serve local communities by providing meals, programming and support to nearly 4 million kids and teens. Programming is targeted at kids in need ages 6-18 and focuses on five key areas: bridging the workforce readiness gap, ending cycles of inequity, neutralizing safety threats, filling the mentorship void and amplifying marginalized voices. To see the variety of their work, watch this short video, Whatever It Takes to Build Great Futures.
BGCA programs are divided into six areas: sports and recreation, education, the arts, health and wellness, career development, and character and leadership. Some that I appreciate are the DramaMatters Afterschool club, involving kids in hands-on performing arts activities; Career Launch, helping teens explore their skills, interests and possible careers; and Million Members, Million Hours of Service, which gets club youth participating in volunteer and service projects. There are also programs for baseball, photography, enhancing self esteem and many, many more.
Finally, there is COVID-19 resource page that includes information on how to talk to your kids about it, how to recognized if they're stressed and how to help them create healthy habits and stay safe online.
And the impact? 97% of Club teens expect to graduate from high school, 75% are volunteering in their communities and 80% said they understand how their feelings influence how they act.
If you'd like to support Boys & Girls Club of America you can do so by making a donation, volunteering, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @BGCA_Clubs.
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