Across the country, 15.1 million kids are left unsupervised after school. Here in Mecklenburg and Union counties, thousands of children and teens have nowhere to go during these critical out of school hours.
But, many are finding a safe, positive place at our 8 area Boys & Girls Clubs. They are able to get help with homework, learn about healthy lifestyles, experience new things and make friends. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs are opening the door to a great future.
Recently, the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America released its annual National Youth Outcomes Initiative, which measures the impact of Clubs across the nation. Here are some of its findings:
- Academics: 12th grade Boys & Girls Club members are almost twice as likely to be interested in a STEM career as 12th graders nationally.
- Community Service: Boys & Girls Club teens are almost twice as likely to volunteer at least monthly than their peers nationally. (8th grade: 49% vs. 27%; 12th grade: 68% vs. 39%)
- Physical Activity: Club kids are more active and report exercise on a daily basis (Boys: 45% vs. 27%; Girls: 31% vs. 23%)
- Alcohol use: By 12th grade, Club members’ rate of abstention from alcohol is 26 percentage points higher than that of their peers.
- Marijuana use: By 12th grade, Club members’ rate of abstention from marijuana is 13% higher than their peers.
The numbers are one thing. But, what are the kids themselves saying?
“The Club has been more than a place to go after school until my mom got off of work; it is a place of empowerment. It was at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs that I was introduced to college. It is where I found pride in my intelligence. It is where I was taught to appreciate my individuality. It is where my eyes were opened to everything that the world has to offer – all of the endless possibilities,” said Ja’Lynn Gray, who attended the local Boys & Girls Club and is now in college.
Club member Courtni Wallace said: “It was at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs that I began to figure out who I was. It was the place where I became a better person. The Club is a safe environment to take my mind off my troubles. It has helped me academically, physically and emotionally, and allowed me to blossom into the person I am today.”
Ja’Lynn and Courtni found that their “great futures” began at the Clubs. The same is true for countless other youth in our community. You can be a part of making that difference for someone. Give to the Great Futures campaign here.