Through ClubTech, and thanks to a more than $100 million donation from Microsoft, BGCA is providing Clubs with the tools to make Club members and staff effective technology users. Clubs receive a comprehensive package of the latest Microsoft products–a combined $88 million software gift. With another $12.3 million in cash, BGCA has developed technology programs that will give members basic computer skills, introduce them to digital movie making, music making, photography, graphic design, and web development as well as guide staff in using technology to enhance all program offerings. ClubTech also includes extensive technology opportunities for Club staff at all professional levels.
The following initiatives emphasize community mobilization and family involvement as strategies Clubs can use to better serve more young people and broaden the impact of all Club programs.
This initiative provides Clubs with resources to enhance their services to youth with disabilities within fun, safe environments. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 13 percent of young people ages 6 to 14 have a disability (2001). Unfortunately, many of these young people have limited access to after-school programs that provide engaging, enjoyable opportunities for social and personal development. BGCA is working with Kids Included Together (KIT) to provide Club professionals and volunteers with effective strategies, tools, and best practices for recruiting more youth with disabilities and serving them more effectively. This program is funded by Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.
Latino Outreach Initiative
Boys & Girls Clubs play a critical role in providing young Latinos with opportunities to succeed. By engaging Latino youth and families through word-of-mouth referrals, face-to-face contacts, community collaborations, special events, and targeted programming, Clubs give young Latinos access to interest and need-based programs to help them develop leadership abilities and strong decision-making skills. BGCA offers professional training and mentoring for Club staff in the area of Latino cultural diversity. This program is funded by The Goizueta Foundation, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, UPS Foundation, and Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
Targeted Outreach Strategic Approaches
In response to the number of youth gangs growing in cities and expanding to suburban and rural communities, BGCA has developed a special gang prevention and intervention initiative targeting youth ages 6 to 18. Through referrals from schools, courts, law enforcement, and community youth service agencies, the tested and proven Targeted Outreach program identifies and recruits delinquent youth, or those “at risk” of delinquency, into ongoing Club programs and activities. This initiative is sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
Teens are not simple “older children.” They have reached a developmental stage that requires a different strategic approach to recruitment, retention, marketing, staff interaction, space utilization, and programming. In addition, the needs and developmental abilities of younger teens (13 to 15) vary from those of older teens (16 to 18). The Teen Initiative provides program resources, grant funding, training, and technical assistance to Club staff and boards so they can deepen their impact with teens in their communities and serve them more effectively. This program is funded by the Taco Bell Foundation.
Youth for Unity
To help educate young people across the country about the importance of tolerance and diversity, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has joined forces with the Allstate Foundation to develop Youth for Unity, a diversity education program designed to combat prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination. Youth for Unity is the umbrella title for a comprehensive set of programmatic interventions that will allow Clubs to help members appreciate and understand our society’s diversity, recognize unfairness, and take personal leadership in confronting bias. Under this initiative, an additional diversity module will be developed for the Street SMART Program.