Tag Archives: after school programs

How the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester and After School Programs Across the Country are Helping Kids, 10 Million at a Time

Dear Friend,

Did you know 10.2 million children in the US participate in after-school activities?

And that for every youth enrolled, two more are waiting to join? The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester serves 6,000 youth a year, but more need our help.

We advocate to secure the support necessary to accept every child who walks through our doors. It’s challenging to raise the funds necessary to provide our programs, but our kids are worth it.

Our programs, and that of Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation, have proven results:

93% of Club members abstained from alcohol use

83% of Club members are on track to graduate high school

100% of our 2016 graduating high school seniors were accepted to college

90% of youth who participate in homework help improve their grades by at least one letter grade

54% of alumni say the Club saved their life

* 2016 Boys & Girls Club of America and Boys & Girls Club of Worcester Statistics

Our academic, athletic, recreational, and therapeutic programs are curriculum-based and implemented by qualified, youth development professionals who strive to change the lives of our kids.

Our after-school offerings are crucial to the youth of our community. The Club saves lives. The statistics speak for themselves, but our parents and members have something to say as well. Please join us and be an ambassador for our youth by donating, volunteering, or advocating on their behalf today.

In partnership,

Liz Hamilton, executive director
Boys & Girls Club of Worcester

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Don’t take our word for it, listen to a Club parent…

I am a proud parent of a 13-year-old Club kid. My daughter, Rowan, has been going to the Club more than half her life. I remember bringing her to the Harrington Clubhouse for the first time, when she was 6. She went to look around, and I started to call after her, “Stay where I can see you!” but then I realized that it was a safe space, where she could be free to explore. What a relief (for both of us)! Rowan started out in the School Age Child Care soon after. She blossomed – getting attention from the Club teens who worked there was especially helpful in beginning to overcome her shyness. She learned to swim in the weekly pool session, and the dance program’s once-a-week hip hop class kindled her (so far, lifelong) interest in all forms of dance. The staff nurtured Rowan’s love for storytelling, and had her read her “books” to the class. Even so, she was counting the days until her 8th birthday, so she could be a “real” member, and have the run of the Club.

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As soon as Rowan was a full member, she joined Girls Voice, a family of girls-only programs that lets girls cultivate their leadership abilities, discuss issues that are important to them, and learn what it means to be a friend. Rowan came into her own in the program. She rose to the staff’s trust in her, and began to coordinate the activities, even working with other programs to organize Club clean-ups and other volunteer projects.

She also found a talent as a peacemaker, helping squabbling Club-mates to find common ground and start acting like friends again. The timid little girl who started at the Club would never have thought she could take charge like that. Rowan tried out, and was one of the few 8-year-olds chosen for In DA Zone, the Club’s award-winning dance team. She kept her spot for the next five years.
Rowan is a very articulate kid, with the vocabulary of someone twice her age.

She is a gifted student, and usually knows the answers in the classroom. This, combined with her “artiness” and her Club-nurtured confidence, made her an oddball in elementary school. She thought nothing of practicing a dance routine on the playground at recess, debating the finer points of Harry Potter with a teacher, or spending a free period writing a play. The kids in her class thought she was weird, and she was bullied fairly severely in 5th and 6th grades. Even though she suffered, she refused to “give up herself,” as she put it, by conforming. “I don’t want to act like them,” she said,” If I do it’s admitting that being like them is better, and my real self is bad.” Even so, I’m not sure she could have kept to her principles if she hadn’t been a Club kid. Having the Club as an outlet, a place where she knew she would be accepted and encouraged and have friends, made all the difference for Rowan.

She is now at Burncoat Middle School, in the dance program – where she has found her “tribe” among all the other arty kids. Rowan came out the other side: Because of the Club’s afterschool programs, she now knows that she is strong as well as capable. Due to afterschool commitments, Rowan doesn’t come to the Club every day anymore, but I know that those lessons will last a lifetime. – Malory

… and from our new Youth of the Year

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Anthony Soares began his Club experience when he was seven years old at our Ionic Ave Clubhouse with a swim class taught by Aquatic Director, Ian Witt.

Thirteen years later, Anthony is in his second year as captain of the Worcester Public High School Swim Team, a nationally-ranked athlete, and a certified lifeguard employed at the Club. When he’s not training or working, Anthony is a dedicated volunteer who teaches younger members how to swim.

“Over the past ten years, I’ve had a very enjoyable Club experience. I love being able to go to the Club every day with my friends and have a great time. The Club has given me a safe environment to enjoy the sport I love and help other kids learn how to pursue it. With the help of the Club, I was able to strengthen my swimming skills which led me to the National Swim Meet in Florida 10 years in a row. I wouldn’t have been able to experience these opportunities without the Club,” says Anthony.

When he was in the eighth grade, Anthony took the Boys Scouts’ oath and began working towards his Eagle Scout badge, a goal he hopes to accomplish this spring with the help of the Club.

How Can You Help?

There are several ways to help our organization reach more youth:

Make a financial contribution

Donate items such as clothing, athletic equipment, school and art supplies, etc.

Purchase an annual membership for a child for $25

Attend one of our upcoming events

Volunteer at our Club

Our goal is to serve any child who wants to join our Club.

In order to do so, we need your help.

Assisting our Club in any of the ways listed above makes a big impact. Without the varied support of our friends, we wouldn’t be able to offer our life-saving programs.

THANK YOU!

Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
65 Tainter St.
www.bgcworcester.org

Help our kids be great! The Worcester Boys and Girls Club fall wish list!

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Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
65 Tainter St.
bgcworcester.org

Our Fall Wish List:

Services/ Capital Improvements

Floors for Kid’s Café, Education Center, Games Room, and Teen Center
Painting our program rooms
HVAC, plumbing, and carpentry (professionals in these fields can donate their time, materials, etc.)
Swimming pool vacuum
Snow Plowing
Furnishings

Bean bag chairs
Colorful throw rugs
Flat screen television for the games room, School Aged Child Care program, and our Plumley Village outreach site
Athletic Equipment

Yoga mats
Basketballs
Rubber balls (to be used for 4 square, dodge ball)
soccer balls
volleyballs
Soccer goal nets
Footballs
boxing gloves and tape
swim towels and goggles
Whiffle ball set
Jump ropes
Hula Hoops
Outdoor Chalk
Educational Tools

Journals
Notebooks
Digital/ disposable cameras
iPads/Surface (to be used for school projects, book reports, college & job applications)
Pens
Pencils
Loose leaf paper
Binders
Folders
Backpacks
Educational workbooks (k-4th grade)
Flashcards (foreign language, math, English)
SAT prep books
Smart boards
Wii/PlayStation & flat screen TV (for educational and fitness purposes)
Plain t-shirts
Arts & Crafts Supplies

Tempera paint
Paintbrushes
Markers
Crayons
Colored pencils
Clay/ Play dough
Sketch books
construction paper, copy paper, and origami paper
Glue (large bottles)
Paste and glue sticks
Scissors
Paint mixing stick

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After-school programs are key! Let’s keep our schools open those extra 90 minutes!

By Rosalie Tirella

Years ago, I was an inner-city kid. I, along with my sisters, attended the old Lamartine Street School in Green Island. We were labeled the City of Worcester’s first “inner-city” school. But I had the best public school teachers in Worcester! Mr. John Monfredo! Mr. Gillman! Mrs. Napoli/Zaterka! Mr. Chickarian! All of these folks ran their classrooms like well oiled clocks, where learning was serious business, but they also made learning fun/hands-on and managed to convey a genuine fondness for us kids – all of whom were poor, many of whom were very rough around the edges.

Going to Lamartine Street School was the best part of my childhood! A magical place where books were plentiful, games were fun (and educational), adults didn’t scream at each other, hamsters and other pocket pets were cared for (usually by little bookworms like me!) and … after school activites were made available to us kids.

I don’t think any of the teachers at Lamartine got paid for their extra efforts after school – I do know everyone had a lot of fun. Mr. Gillman, my fourth grade teacher, played the accordian! What a cool – BIG – musical instrument, I thought when I saw him take it out during class to play Christmas songs for us. I immediately began whining to my mom to get me a starter/kid accordian with cool rhinestone buttons on the left and fake ivory inlay over the keyboard at right. And in between – squezze box! A bunch of Lamartine kids felt the same way and their parents got them accordians too. So Mr. Gillman began teaching every accordian toting kid – after school. Giving us music lessons. For free. Boy! Did I sound horrific, but my chest swelled with pride whenever I carried my pretty little accordian (which my mom rented for me from some teeny music store on Pleasant Street) to class.

After school fun that kept a smart kid like me from going home to sadness … At Lamartine I did not have to get sad over my father or our living situation.

About two decades ago, I had an epiphany. I remember walking out of Union Hill School – an adult now. School had ended about 20 minutes ago. And what did I see? A six year old boy running around the street in front of his home WITH A STEAK KNIFE. A steak knife!

What a godsend that Union Hill had an afterschool program, I thought. That little boy needs to join the Union Hill afterschool program. Nothing heavy – nothing amazingly acacademic. Just a classroom where the Unioh Hill kids could: create little arts and crafts projects, finish up their homework, color mimeographed pictures or play in the school yard – maybe kickball or dodge ball.

Nothing fancy happend at Union Hill’sd after school program. Just like nothing too fancy happened at Lamartine Street School for me years ago. But guess what? Activities like these keep some kids out of trouble/steak knife drawers, provide a quiet place to do homework (our three-decker apartment could get noisy with all the arguing: my baby versus my dad versus my mom!) or just hang out and color in a coloring book – in an attractive, safe place. Your neighborhood school.

So much more than babysitting! Life-saving, actually!

And last night I watched the Worcester School Committee worry about: paying WPS teachers who are too cheap to volunteer – want to get paid $60 per hour for their work (90 minuites of work). The city doesn’t have the bucks to pay all these teachers – and Mayor Joe O’Brien (wisely ) said that the system should just hire regular folks to run some kind of after school activites – not really teaching academic.

Bravo, Joe!

But of course, the WPS teachers plan to sue over that. They want the money that the city doesn’t have.

They, unlike, my old Lamartine teachers, don’t give a shit about the kids. Don’t care about their safety or happines. They are gonna go to the mat for a lousy $60 an hour. Over folks who may be able to run a good afterschool program getting payed 10 or 12 or 15 bucks an hour.

What a way to bring in the holidays!