December can be a month of both joy and sadness for our youth, so we strive to make it the best possible for them to help fulfill both needs and wants. Payless ShoeSource provided us with 150 $20 gift cards so our youth could go shopping for brand new shoes. And thanks to Fred Meyer and Portland Trail Blazer, Wesley Mathews, coats were collected during the month of December in the 5th annual coat drive benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland. Hundreds of coats were collected and given to our members. We had the honor of assisting with the Parkrose School District Food & Gift Drive. Our Parkrose Club staff joined school staff and community volunteers to assist in the collection and distribution of 8,000 lbs of food and 500 gifts to 160 Parkrose families. The month was completed with all Clubs hosting a Holiday Celebration event. With the help of many community partners and Giving Trees, all of our kids were able to receive gifts of toys and clothing. Many of them were able to meet Santa Clause for the first time as well!
On December 16, the Jack Will and Rob Club unveiled a state-of-the-art “Tween Tech Center,” to help spark kids’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and prepare young people for 21st century success. Funded by Samsung, the Tween Tech Center will be a modernized technology classroom for Club members with the latest mobile devices for learning, including a custom STEM curriculum and eBooks on Samsung tablets adn laptops. Developed by education leader Scholastic, the custom STEM curriculum, “Building Blocks,” will assist kids’ education and literacy goals and encourage Club tweens to work together and invent creative, engineering-based solutions for community needs.
90 youth, families, and community members including our Portland Mayor, Charlie Hales and his wife, Nancy, attended a Peace Rally organized by Regence Club teens as part of the New Columbia's Youth Empowerment Solutions group, part of the STRYVE initiative, which stands for Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere.
And finally, we were honored to be voted as Oregon's 6th Most Admired Non-Profit company, which is selected by Oregon CEO's.
We are always looking for fun ways to not only raise money, but to create fun events for Club members and families to attend. Our newest fun family event, Pumpkins & Pins, took place on October 26 at Grand Central Bowling. Local artists were invited to carve giant pumpkins which were sold to local businesses. These were on display at the event and families were invited to come see the pumpkins, enjoy a day of bowling, play arcade games, paint bowling pins or bid on items in our silent auction. It was a great event and fun was had by all!
One of the Boys & Girls Clubs' priority outcomes for our members is living a healthy lifestyle, including eating a healthy diet, making healthy lifestyle choices and committing to a life of fitness. November was Healthy Lifestyles Months at our Clubs. Staff and kids took the Chris Dudley Foundation Live Active, Dream Big pledge to get moving for just 30 minutes a day during the 30 days of November. Everyday, staff members lead Club members through a physical activity. To show their support, the administrative staff held a competition among all staff to get moving during the month as well.
A large percentage of our Club members are low income and on free & reduced lunch plans. Many of our Clubs serve hot meals to its members and all Clubs serve healthy snacks daily. Thanks to a generous gift of $77,500 from the Ford Motor Company and their Ford Focus on Hunger Campaign, 64 Boys & Girls Clubs across the Pacific Northwest will be able provide holiday meals to kids & their families. As part of this, all of our Clubs served a Thanksgiving feast for its members and families.
For the 2014-2015 program year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area adapted some new components to our existing Literacy programs. The intent is to serve a broader number of youth across the organization with the intent of monitoring the impact of these programs to demonstrate outcomes that are tied to their school success. The new components involved the implementation of new curriculum and taking on some new strategies that met the needs of a broader scope of youth across the six Club sites, while expanding services to several additional extension sites across the Portland metro region.
The primary addition to the Literacy & Education programs was the addition of Interactive Novel Studies, described below, the addition of this component is a phase 1 approach for the 2014-2015 program year.
Interactive Novel Studies (phase 1)
Youth are divided by grade level reading groups and focus on specific reading curriculum based on novel studies that align with school district’s curriculum. Each curriculum is spead out over 4-6 weeks. In addition to reading the daily materials, staff engage participants in high yield learning activities and hands on projects tat directly relate back to the assigned reading topic. This multi-sensory approach to reading and engagment of participnts in a hands-on experiential learning activities, provides a strong connection to reading assignments and comprehension of the reading material. Youth participate in, and complete a number of staff guided projects to help reinforce and demonstrate their comprehension of the readings, these projects include high yield activities such as:
Projects are designed to be fun and engaging while also encouraging teamwork and the development of independent interests in learning. Reading Curriculum is designated by Program Administration in conjunction with Literacy Staff, so that sets of books can be rotated throughout the individual site locations, creating a consistent agenda of reading materials, curriculum and high yield learning activities that are easily planned and transferred from one site location to another throughout the program year.
The addition of this new curriculum component is a valued resource, but also provides an important connection between Club members learning activities during afterschool hours that keeps them engaged in the same materials that are used in their local schools. The addition of the high yield learning activities which is provided at the Boys & Girls Clubs provides youth a learning environment which is strongly reinforces a childs comprehension of curriculum, and engages them in activities which are directly tied back to the Interactive Novel Studies