The Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has been impacting the lives of young people for generations. By providing activities, mentorship, and character building, many children who are a part of the clubs go on to lead successful adult lives.
What Is BGCA?
BGCA is an after-school and summertime national organization with a guiding mission to, "enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens."
The organization is most famous for its mentorship program pairing high risk youth with an adult for one-on-one quality time. To further accomplish their mission, BGCA expanded to include programs that provide opportunities for children to try different activities and discover who they are and who they hope to become. The BGCA receives an almost perfect ranking score of 96.1 out of 100 on Charity Navigator.
Currently, almost 4 million children are served through the clubs, and over 4,300 club locations exist in the US, as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and overseas military bases. Some promising results of these clubs include that 73 percent of low income kids 12 to 17 who attend the club achieve A's and B's in school. Additionally, 27 percent of middle-school club girls and 42 percent of middle-school club boys participate in daily physical activity; both higher than the national average.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America achieves their mission to prepare fully capable kids by providing a wide range of programs. These include programs in sports and recreation, health and wellness, education, the arts, career development, and character and leadership.
Sports and Recreation
Providing physical activity options for all ages, the BGCA offers a collection of physical activity programs including a health and wellness program known as Triple Play, baseball and softball leagues, and football, basketball, cheerleading, and dancing programs.
Health and Wellness
The health and wellness programs at BGCA aim to promote self care, healthy habits, and positive behaviors to ensure a healthy adulthood. These courses include a Healthy Habits course centered on nutrition and physical activity, a Passport to Manhood class that focuses on character development, a CyberSafety course centered on Cyber bulling prevention, and many others.
The BGCA has vast options to promote education and academic success for children that participate in the Clubs. These academic programs are for all ages up to 18 with a goal of ensuring kids are "ready for a post-secondary education and a 21st-century career." These program range from a money matters course sponsored by Charles Schwab to a technical course geared to build STEM skills in girls.
With the goal of helping youth express themselves in a healthy and creative way, the BGCA provides a large array of arts programs. These include programs centered on photography, music production, drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, drama, and many other art forms.
To ensure a positive future full of opportunities, BGCA offers two programs to ready children for careers in the professional work force. It was reported that BGCA 12th grade participants are about twice as likely to display an interest in a STEM career as the national average.
Character and Leadership
Leadership programs provided by the Clubs present opportunities for children to develop and display leadership skills inside and outside of BGCA. These programs include the Keystone Clubs, Youth of the Year club, the Million Members, Million Hours of Service club, and the Torch Club.
How Can You Help?
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America receives the help of citizens all over the country which in turn lets the Clubs help millions of kids. There are many ways anyone can help.
- Volunteer- Many people can volunteer with BGCA to help tutor, coach sports teams, or offer any other skills you may have to aid in the development of the children. To see if you can volunteer at a club near you use the Find a Club Near You tool.
- Become a Partner - Companies can become a partner of BGCA to give back to the community. For more information on partnerships explore BGCA's partnership page.
- Donate - Donating may be the easiest way to help BGCA. The Clubs provide many donation options such as monthly plans, wedding gifts, holiday donations, and many others.
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
BGCA provides after-school and summer assistance and programming to millions of children around the country. The Clubs provides a wide variety of programs to promote health, academic success, and strong character in that children it serves. There are many ways to be involved with BGCA and help children that rely on it.