There are four characteristics of a Boys & Girls Club—considered as a package—that separate us from other youth-serving organizations.
First, we have dedicated youth facilities that are among the best in America by any standard. The Boys & Girls Club is a place—actual neighborhood-based buildings designed solely for our programs and activities.
Second, we are open year round, and at high risk times like after school when kids need positive, productive outlets. Research tells us that school age youth are most likely to commit/be a victim of crime, engage in risky behaviors and/or use drugs/alcohol/tobacco between 3-7pm during the school year and our facilities are open during (and past) those times.
Third, we have a professional staff in place. Almost all of our full-time youth development professionals have 4 year degrees, and many of our so-called ‘super part-timers’ have similar credentials. We also invest a great deal in training so those working directly with kids have the best tools possible.
Last, and certainly not least, we are accessible/affordable to all youth. At a glance, the profound nature of that statement may not be fully realized, but our Clubhouses are literally within walking distance of many who ‘need us most’ and the annual membership fee of $5 makes certain that No One is ever turned away for financial reasons.
We could also talk about a diverse menu of national programs with proven curriculum and outcomes measures…or the value of having almost 50,000 youth development professionals to draw from when looking for best practices…but we’ll talk about them in another space!