Nicole Llamas, Victor Caceres
Feb 1, 2023
Where have we been?
Where have we been and what have we been doing?
It is no surprise to our community that COVID has affected us all immensely. It was a time full of uncertainty and hardship, school moving virtual, businesses closing down, and much of our lives being put on hold. We knew this was a moment our community needed us the most and we had to take action!
We continued to serve our community during the height of COVID and remained an open resource for our members and their families. Through vigorous discussions with our Board of Directors and looking at the CDC guidelines at the time, we diligently worked to provide a physical space to help our members through their virtual school sessions. By having a safe and positive space available, our community members could confidently and comfortably send their kids somewhere they could get help, support, and positive interactions while parents were at work. Our team of Directors worked for a year and a half serving 150 members during this time and remaining a positive resource to our community. Once schools returned to their in-person sessions, The Club was able to secure a partnership with the Pomona Unified School District to further aid and serve our community. This enabled The Club to stretch our reach within our community and grow into what we have become today.
Celebrating the Success
Today, we are happy to announce that we are currently serving 2,000 kids a day! Through this significant impact, we can showcase and implement our Youth Development Strategy in our community to strengthen and build the lives of our youth. Our time at each participating school is split into 6 week periods where our Directors and supporting staff are present at 6 different schools at any given time during school hours, namely recess and lunch recess. Often going back to schools that need us the most or those that verbalize a need for our staff to attend. Otherwise, all 25 elementary schools are served in a school year in 10 months! Our impact on these campuses is what drives us forward in our pursuit to be of service to our community. In fact, according to a Principal at one of the schools served, their student behavior referrals dropped to 0 a day, whereas once they averaged 10-12 a day.
During this time, our Staff works through activities and games speaking and being intentional with the kids there. These moments and interactions are what our core stands for. Through conversation, accolades, and celebration our Staff looks for moments where they can exercise our Youth Development Strategy that is needed among our youth.
Youth Development Strategy
Through inspiration from the Boys & Girls Club of America’s BUIC, our Executive Director, Victor received the green light from Roxanne Spolet, the National Director at the time in the year 2000 to create new and exciting core values for which The Club stood for. Standing for Competence, Leadership, Uniqueness & Belonging, The C.L.U.B. was able to focus and hone in on a new strategy to support our community with direction and purpose. Here we practice and implement our strategy through conversation with daily interactions and activities that our members and those impacted can feel and carry with them throughout their lives.
These senses, Competence, Leadership, Uniqueness & Belonging, are felt every day among our members and at the schools we serve. Our Directors and supporting staff ensure that every success and every accomplishment gets celebrated. Ensuring that every kid who needs support gets what they need to build upon their development.
Through documentation, we can witness how our members feel and what core values we can implore to make an impact. For example, a member can come into The Club stressed about their performance at school or an upcoming parent-teacher meeting to discuss their grades. Our staff is trained to recognize these emotions and work alongside the member to create a solution and let our members know they have the support. Our staff member is encouraged to approach the member and voice that they are not alone, giving a sense of belonging and support to the student by helping them with the school subject that needs attention, speaking with the parent, and reaffirming what steps and resources they have here at The Club to give our member a sense of competency and leadership by stating something such as, “I bet by next week, you’ll be able to help other students with their math questions.”
These processes are encouraged here at The Club and on the school campuses to build our youth. Our activities and programs go beyond the fun aspect which makes up 40% of the impact and creates conversations and engagement with the kids through communication, the other 60% impact. As previously mentioned, our staff is trained in what to say and how to interact with our youth and pick up on the true things that come out during the activities. To find, see and celebrate the improvements and successes our members and youth have which make them competent, have a sense of leadership, uniqueness, and an overall sense of belonging.