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By Andrea Taylor, director of North America community affairs
The New York Times ran an article today on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and their Faces of the Future campaign. The campaign showcases how the Club Tech program gives kids across America access to technology and helps them to develop the technology skills necessary to succeed in school and the job market.
Part of the Faces of the Future campaign is showcasing how children are using technology in the Clubs. There is a story about a boy names Logan, who is a Club member in Oshkosh, Wisconsin that caught my eye. Logan had a background and story similar to many Club kids. He had a difficult family situation and found direction and positive role models at his local BGCA. While he participated in many Club programs he truly exceled in Club Tech activities. After he graduated from high school, Logan returned to his local Club and was hired as the technology advisor, a job where he could mentor the next generation of Club kids in Oshkosh, all while developing his leadership, technology and other job skills that are allowing his passion for technology to develop into a career.
During my work with BGCA Clubs across the U.S., I’ve come to realize these stories are in every Club throughout the BCGA community. Earlier this year, while I was serving as a judge for the Washington state Youth of the Year competition, I asked the candidates whether and why they would stay engaged with the Club after they graduated and go off to school or work. Almost unanimously, each kid said they absolutely would stay engaged with the Club and that it was mostly because of the staff they had encountered during their time there. One kid even mentioned he wanted to run all BGCAs when he grew up!
With so much “noise” going on in these young lives from home, school or elsewhere, it’s inspiring to hear these kids speak so highly and with so much respect for BGCA staff at their local Clubs. Furthermore, it’s an amazing thing to learn just how far above and beyond the BGCA staff go every single day to ensure their Club kids are safe, happy and engaged. From working long hours, to discovering new fundraising angles, to jumping around playing Dance Central with their Club members (Pictured left: BCGA Staff member at Wallingford Boys and Girls Club in Seattle provides a groovy example for the youth on Dance Central for Kinect), these staff, many of them Club alums like Logan, seem to know just what it takes to keep the more than 4,000 Clubs up, running and a fun place to spend time. They know each kid by name, their likes and dislikes, and what type of day they’re having.
BGCA and their staff play a vital role in our local communities. So, as we celebrate these Club kid success stories and Faces of the Future at BGCA, we should also pause and deliver a loud round of applause for BGCA staff who are great at their jobs, and serve up inspirational actions to help kids every single day.
Cheers to you.
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