On April 1, Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched “Celebrating 30 Years of Better Together,” a campaign highlighting how Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)-affiliated youth centers have been doing whatever it takes to serve the needs of military-connected youth for the past 30 years by providing academic support, mentorship, leadership development, and peer connections. As of today, more than half a million military-connected youth are being served through traditional Boys & Girls Clubs and nearly 500 BGCA-affiliated youth centers across the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide. Here in Goldsboro the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County currently serves 468 young people every year.
Mary Ann Dudley, Executive Director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County says: “We are fortunate to live, work and play in a community that has a military base but are even more blessed to be able to offer children a place where they have a sense of belonging. This is especially true for military children who tend to move more than their non-military peers. We run daily programs that benefit the physical, emotional and mental well-being of all children in our community. We are excited to be celebrating 30 years of serving military-connected youth and families this month.”
This enduring partnership continues to provide military-connected youth with access to essential youth development programs and activities giving families the vital support they need and supporting mission readiness of our Armed Forces. The partnership has been recognized by the Department of Defense and the branches of Service as one of their most significant and beneficial youth serving partnerships.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County responded to the community need for a place for youth to go for remote learning assistance when not in school. The Club operates a Remote Learning Hub (the HUB) at the Goldsboro Unit that currently serves 75 youth each day. The HUB provides youth with access to internet, computers, headphones and school supplies that are needed for virtual learning. Dedicated staff work with youth on navigating the Learning Management System used by the schools and assist with assignments and homework. The Club works with students and their parents to promote positive progress with virtual learning. They also provide three meals a day for students and a low ratio of Club members to adults, for more personalized assistance. The HUB helps families who are struggling during the pandemic by providing youth with a safe place to go each day where they can focus on academics, healthy lifestyles, and character development. Their goal is to aid households that have working parents, elderly family members who may not understand technology, and homes that lack internet and/or computers by removing these barriers and providing each child a safe place to learn and the tools to succeed.
April is recognized as Month of the Military Child and Boys & Girls Clubs and BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers across the nation and abroad will use this time to celebrate the 30th anniversary and raise awareness of the needs and the programs offered to military youth. The public is invited to help raise awareness of military kids and teens and their resiliency by wearing purple on Thursday, April 22, 2021. In addition, Boys & Girls Clubs of America will be hosting a Military Teen Summit for all teens, not just military-connected teens, April 22-24, 2021. Teens, with parental guidance, can register here.
To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County, visit BGCWayne.org.
For more information about the partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the U.S. Armed Services, visit www.bgca.org/military. To join in on the conversation about “Celebrating 30 Years of Better Together” all year on social media, use the hashtags #greatfutures and #BetterTogether.