What role does the Club play in the community?
In these tough times, the Club is truly supporting the entire family. While parents are worried about making ends meet and keeping their jobs, they can still rely on the Club to ensure their children are in a safe environment and not left alone at home. As you can imagine, the Club has been very busy. We serve hundreds of children each and every day and some 4,000 kids each year.
Can you imagine what all those families would do if they did not have such a place to take their kids? In times like these, the Boys & Girls Club is needed more than ever.
What is the Club’s impact on kids, families and communities?
Our kids have a fun place to go every day after school. When they are at the Club, it doesn’t matter if their parents have a job or not. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have a computer. It doesn’t matter if they are not wearing designer clothes. All that matters is there is a professional staff that cares about them and provides programs that are fun and build good character along the way.
If you are a parent struggling to pay the gas bill or buy groceries, there is one thing you can count on: that your child is being well taken care of at the Club. Our community is fortunate to have an organization such as this – one providing quality programs to every child regardless of their financial background.
Why I am involved with the Club?
It’s really about results. Boys & Girls Clubs help kids by providing a positive outlet for their energy instead of leaving them to wander the streets and get into trouble. The clubs teach kids right from wrong and how to get along. Clubs help kids see that they can be whatever they want to be – regardless of their family situation. Besides providing for my own family, I cannot imagine anything more important than helping kids and families of our community.
The four Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County units are community-based organizations that provide young people with fun, safe, and constructive environments after school and during the summer. As described below, the Club addresses a multiple of the Preferred Program Components outlined in the guidance document for Children and Families including After School, Summer and Mentoring Activities, Prevention and Intervention programs, Education & Literacy programs, and Parenting sessions through our GPTTO Gang prevention program.
The Club partners with many local agencies to implement the programs listed above. Among them are several local law enforcement agencies, including the teen court and Probation Department. Many of our youth visit and serve at teen court as part of FAME and GPTTO programs and several of our teens are referred by the Probation officers. The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) and Alachua County Sherriff’s Office (ASO) officers visit schools and program locations, and target neighborhoods on a regular basis to increase positive interaction with youth. The officers make ongoing referrals to our programs. The School Board of Alachua County provides referrals to the Project Learn, FAME and GPTTO programs and distributes information to youth and families, and provides data on grades, attendance, graduation rates and behavior incidents involving program youth. We also partner with other youth-serving organizations, including Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Partnership for Strong Families, the Girls Club, Girl Scouts and the United Way as part of the Education Community Solutions Team.
Higher education partners include the Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida, with over 1,000 student volunteers attending the Club every year to provide assistance with homework, mentoring and computer training. UF students intern each semester as volunteers in the administration office and help with data collection, grant management, filing and fund-raisers. Other collaborators include faith-based organizations and the UF School of Dentistry.