Feb 9, 2015

You're changing one life at a time at the Boys & Girls Club

Thanks to supporters like you, in 2014, our Oak View Branch gave a safe haven to more than 400 children from Huntington Beach’s most impoverished and dangerous neighborhood. In an area where gangs are trying to get elementary and middle school kids involved, where shootings and drugs are common, the Boys & Girls Club makes a real difference in kids’ lives. At the Club, they are safe. They have the chance to learn, play, and be carefree kids.The kids at our Oak View branch are living in extreme poverty. The average family has three kids and supports the whole family on an income of less than $1400 per month. Kids don’t always have enough to eat at home. They don’t have space to play because they are sharing apartments with other families and it’s not safe to play outside. Kids don’t have home computers to do their schoolwork. Poverty also puts the kids our Oak View Branch at greater risk of failing in school and having behavioral problems. The Boys & Girls Club helps with all of those things.

Here’s how your support of the Club makes a difference. Every single day, kids get a healthy meal so they won’t go hungry during their out of school time. Kids have space to play at the Club. About 75% say the Club is the only place they do active play or exercise outside of school. Kids get access to computer labs and our staff help them with their homework so that they have a better chance to succeed in school. We also run special academic focused programs that help children do better in school, too. It works - in 2014, 68% of kids in our summer reading program improved their reading by a full grade level! 

And our caring staff make a big difference in kids’ behavior, too. One of our members, Aldi, has really benefited from your gift of a sponsorship to the Boys & Girls Club this last year. He’s been with us since the Oak View Branch opened in fall 2012. Becky, the site’s Program Director, says, “Aldi’s been a troubled kid from the start. He’s had a bad temper and a lot of trouble with being a good sport. On top of that, his mom had a baby this year and she was struggling a lot with post-partum depression. Her low moods and emotional struggles took a toll on Aldi. I noticed that he was really down and that his temper and sportsmanship were getting worse than ever. To help, we made Aldi part of our mentoring program. Aldi and his mentor meet each week to talk. His mentor paid special attention to Aldi in the program areas as well. Aldi has improved so much! When he’s struggling, he comes and talks to his mentor. He’s getting a good handle on his temper and becoming a good sport. This fall, we launched a brand new flag football league. Aldi played in the league and learned about being part of a team, working together with his friends. And, he even got to be a leader as team captain. This opportunity to be a leader transformed how he saw himself and how he wanted others to see him. As team captain, he felt like he needed to set a good example for the team. So, even when the team lost, he showed much better sportsmanship than he ever had before. We encourage that same desire to be a leader off the field, too. We remind him that he is the oldest child in his family and he can be a role model and a good example for his younger siblings. The combination of mentoring, teamwork, and leadership has been amazing for Aldi. He’s a much happier kid now and I have seen a lot of growth in his good character.” You're changing one life at a time by supporting the Boys & Girls Club. And it adds up! More than 9,500 children will benefit from the Boys & Girls Club in 2015. Thank you for your past support and we hope you will consider making a gift today to change another life for the better!

Jan 9, 2015

Big steps for new Boys & Girls Club!

By December 2015, the new Club will be complete!
By December 2015, the new Club will be complete!

Since our last report, some big things have happened. You may remember that we asked you to help "make it a million for the kids" by helping us meet our matching goal gift. Just yesterday, we made that goal! Our generous anonymous donor will give $750,000 because people like you all chipped in with gifts that totaled up to more than $250,000.  THANK YOU!

And, this week, our construction company got to work on building the brand new Boys & Girls Club at Golden West College. Now we're getting into crunch time. With construction started, we have a clear fundraising deadline ahead of us. Construction will be completed by November 2015 if all goes as planned. We hope to fully fund this $12 million project by that time. That means raising more than $4.5 million this year. We'll need your help to do it. Please tell your friends about this project and if you are able to give a little more over the next 11 months, we would love to have your continued support for the at-risk kids in Huntington Beach.

45% of kids in our targeted neighborhood are home alone afterschool with no caring adults to look after them while their moms and dads are hard at work. With your help, we're going to change that. We're going to make sure that kids have a safe and fun place to learn and play every day after school, during school holidays, and all summer long. Thanks for helping make that possible for the thousands of kids who will use the new Boys & Girls Club. 

Not only are you helping the kids, you're also helping parents make better lives for themselves and their whole family. One mom says, "Words cannot express my gratitude for the help I receive from the Boys & Girls Club.  It has enabled me to work full time and go to school full time.  I am currently working in the field I am going to school for.  Because I've been able to advance my education, I have recently been promoted!  I would not be able to realize my dreams without the fantastic staff at the Boys & Girls Club. Thank you!" – Jessica

We pass those thanks on to you, because by supporting the new Boys & Girls Club, you are helping thousands more moms and dads like Jessica over the decades to come. We couldn't make such a big difference without your help! Thank you!

Nov 25, 2014

Meet Giselle. You changed her life.

Giselle and classmates use the Club's tech lab
Giselle and classmates use the Club's tech lab

Meet Giselle. She’s one of the kids whose life you change by supporting the Boys & Girls Club. Since the Oak View Branch’s opening in 2012, Giselle has attended the Club almost every day. As a bright young girl, she always had plenty of questions for our staff. She wanted to know about the big questions facing adolescents. Growing up, her body, changing social dynamics, expectations at school, and lots more. Thanks to your support, the Club’s staff was there to try to give her all the answers she needed. But, they also realized that if Giselle had so many questions, lots of other girls probably did, too. She was just the only one brave enough to ask.

Inspired by her curiosity, the staff started SMART Girls. The program is designed to help pre-teen and teen girls discuss sensitive issues in a safe environment of other girls their age, led by staff mentors. The program also encourages positive peer pressure to help kids make the right choices about drugs, alcohol, relationships, and more. And, the program helps build kids’ self-esteem. With the guidance and mentorship of the Club’s staff, Giselle grew from a shy, and reserved child to a confident, and self-assured teen today. Giselle has become a leader among her peers.

Giselle is also a fantastic student. As a Club supporter, you are giving her the resources she needs to live up to her full potential as a true star student. She is only in 9th grade, but she’s already taking Advanced Placement courses! She counts on the Club to get help with her homework and to get the computer access she needs in order to complete homework that requires internet research or typed papers. Like most of our Oak View Branch members, she doesn’t have a home computer or internet access. When she’s at the Oak View Branch, she can use the Club’s computer lab. Giselle says, “Without the Club, I’d have to drop my AP classes because I wouldn’t be able to do my homework.”  The computer access she gets at the Club helps her stay on par with her more affluent peers in high school.  She’s a bright girl. With your continued support, the Club can give her educational opportunities she can’t get at home.Thank you for changing Giselle’s life and helping her create a great future for herself. 

There are more than 400 kids at our Oak View Branch. Each one is counting on donors like you. With your help, they can come to the Boys & Girls Club each day to get the resources and support they need to succeed in school and in life. Please make a gift to sponsor a child today. 

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