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Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada-Support Young People

by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada-Support Young People
A studio of dreams at the Kawartha Lakes Club
A studio of dreams at the Kawartha Lakes Club

We are very grateful for your continued support to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.  Your donations allow us to continue providing much-needed programs and services to underserved children and youth across the country.

We are pleased to share with you an article about opening a music studio at the Kawartha Lakes Club.  This is a welcomed addition to the Club, creating space for aspiring young musicians from the community to record their music, which they would otherwise not be able to do.


 If the Community Builds It...

As Lacey picks out the notes to Dust in the Wind on her guitar, she doesn’t even hear a whisper from youth down the hall in The Warehouse after school.  That’s because she’s in the soundproof music studio of this very active youth centre at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes.


“I love playing guitar,” Lacey says. “It’s so therapeutic.” 


The Grade 12 student is a regular at The Warehouse and is in the music studio every chance she gets. 


Although it was built less than a year ago, the studio has brought the community together and has had a profound impact on the Club’s young people.


It was initiated by a legacy donation and has been completed thanks to the unique talents and hard work of a diverse group of volunteers. Lindsay residents Bill Jay and Morley Coombs donated $50,000 to the Club with the goal of sharing their love of music with generations of young people.


When three local recording engineers (Frank Watt, Garrett Drach and Dante Winkler) learned that the Club was creating a music studio, they volunteered their expertise to ensure the space was designed and built according to world-class standards. 


With the construction nearly completed in June 2014, a group of AstraZeneca employees stepped in to put the finishing touches on the studio. They donated time and materials on AstraZeneca’s Community Connection Day at the Club, painting and putting sound baffles on the wall.


Now, the Club’s recording studio has become an important community resource. 


“This is a place where young people can explore the world of music, both in front of the microphone and at the mixing board,” explains Robert Cyr, the Club’s Manager of Community and Volunteer services. 


Sound engineers Winkler and Drach are still on the volunteer roster, sharing their knowledge and personal time to give Club youth a range of opportunities for expanding their creativity and skills.    


Cyr says he is amazed by how deeply music connects and resonates with some of the teens, and Lacey agrees.


“Music helps me relax. I feel calm,” she says with a smile. Lacey puts down her guitar and makes room at the microphone for Andrew, a teen who is known around The Warehouse as “the DJ.” 

Andrew has high-functioning autism and a love of music and singing.  He likes to manage the playlist at The Warehouse, with a preference for anything by Lady Gaga.


Lacey and Andrew are on a subcommittee of the Club’s youth council, planning a number of upcoming concerts, jams and rap contests in the music studio. 


Cyr, meanwhile, is exploring options for expanding the room to accommodate more musicians and bigger instruments.


“We’ve been given this amazing gift and it’s become a catalyst for growing music in the community,” he says.  “If we can expand the space here, then I think the floodgates will open.”


Thank you for your generous donations.  We would like to wish you a happy holiday season.  We look forward to providing you with our updates in 2017. 

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Fredericton Club Power Up! Homework Club
Fredericton Club Power Up! Homework Club

Children and youth across Canada are preparing to go back to school and Boys and Girls Clubs are also gearing up to offer after school programs.  A notable program that we offer at our Clubs is Power Up!, an academic enhancement program for children between 6 and 12.  This long-standing program, funded by Fidelity Investments, has helped hundreds of children to succeed in school.  Please read about Lauren below from our Fredericton Club who has greatly benefited from participating in Power Up!


Lauren's learning ways

"Joie de vivre. That is Lauren in a nutshell.”

Amanda Audette, program manager with Boys and Girls Club of Fredericton, is very proud of this cheerful 8-year-old.

“I’m in French immersion!” Lauren says with enthusiasm.  “I’m going to go to Paris someday.”

“Lauren made great strides in school, thanks to her daily attendance in the Power Up! Homework Club at our Skyline Acres facility,” Amanda explains.

Lauren’s parents were hesitant about enrolling their daughter in French immersion and concerned that switching her from the regular curriculum would be too much of a challenge.

“Lauren convinced them to give her the opportunity and they finally agreed because of the academic support she gets with us after school, five days a week.”

Created by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and funded by Fidelity Investments for over a decade, Power Up! is an academic enhancement program for children between 6 and 12. They get to try new things and develop life and learning skills but most importantly, they have fun—an important factor for kids like Lauren, who declares recess as her favourite “subject” at school.

“I really like the Power Up! Homework Club because I get all my work done here before I go home,” Lauren says.

“Lauren’s mom really likes it too,” Amanda says with a smile. “It makes things so much easier for her, knowing Lauren’s getting help with her French vocabulary and reading.  And with the homework out of the way, the whole family can relax and enjoy their evening.

“Most of our parents tell us how much they value the academic support provided by Power Up! and the fact that volunteers, tutors and mentors are provided at no extra cost.”

Power Up! is just one of three Boys and Girls Club programs supported by Fidelity Investments Canada that promotes learning, both in and out of the classroom. 

Fidelity sponsors the new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) program that encourages youth to explore STEM fundamentals and includes an artistic (A) component to encourage creativity and innovation. Fidelity Investments Canada also offers scholarship opportunities for Boys and Girls Club youth pursuing post-secondary education.



Thank you for your continued support, which enables us to expand our reach, allowing us to help as many kids as possible to succeed in school, open doors to new experiences and opportunities and paving the way to a successful future.    

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Club Kids at Gander Boys and Girls Club
Club Kids at Gander Boys and Girls Club

THANK YOU for your support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada! Because of you, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is able to provide opportunities for youth and children. Please continue to read below to learn about one of our Clubs in Gander, Newfoundland.


“Eating right, keeping fit and forming positive relationships are fundamental activities at our Club,” says Lori Roache, Program Coordinator for the Gander Boys and Girls Club. Gander is home to about 10,000 people and probably best known for its transatlantic airport and an important strategic role during World War II. The Gander Boys and Girls Club is also aware of another lesser known but important fact— Newfoundland and Labrador has Canada’s highest rate of obesity among youth. “That’s why we jumped at the chance to offer Triple Play when it was introduced by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada last year,” Lori says. Triple Play was created by Boys and Girls Clubs of America to provide Club members aged 6 to 18 with opportunities to participate in daily physical activity and learn how to develop a healthy approach to mind, body and soul. The program is available in Canada thanks to the support of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “During the summer, the Club offered lots of opportunities to boost physical activity through the Triple Play program, including field trips featuring swimming, hiking and adventuring,” Lori explains. The physical activities are complemented by wellness focused pursuits, like learning a new healthy recipe once a week and group activities and peer mentoring to help the youth develop self-esteem as they interact positively together. “During the school year, Triple Play participants stay closer to home, playing spirited games of Four Square and having group discussions about wellness and smart food choices,” Lori adds. “Best of all, programs like Triple Play allow us to adopt an open-door policy so that all of the town’s young people have opportunities to get together in a safe place to be active and have fun with their friends after school.


What do you think? Are you interested in more information about how you can support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada? Please get in touch - or 1 - 844 - 477 - 7272 ext. 271

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BGC of Bonnyville staff are breaking down stigmas
BGC of Bonnyville staff are breaking down stigmas

Across Canada, Boys and Girls Club staff members are ready to flex!

A national program promoting mental health and well-being for youth, Flex Your Head is being offered by a growing number of Boys and Girls Clubs in 2016, thanks to  new online training and a downloadable guide that gives staff the knowledge and skills to facilitate youth group collaboration and dialogue.

Created by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, with initial support of AstraZeneca’s Young Health Program, Flex Your Head encourages youth aged 13 and up to recognize that anxiety and pain are normal. The program typically runs for 12 weeks and begins with youth leadership training followed by a variety of fun group activities to prompt discussions about emotions and well-being. The program introduces young people to strategies for recognizing emotional cues and identifying thoughts that seem to occur automatically in different situations.

I just love the program’s language and approach,” says Kim Reed, program director with Boys and Girls Club of Bonnyville. “Anxiety and sadness are unavoidable. It’s just life. But dealing with these emotions is a skill that can be learned.” With over 10 years’ experience as a high school counsellor, Kim has seen a lot of young people overwhelmed by depression and worry. “I would certainly have used this program in a school setting to help the kids manage their distress,” she says.

Flex Your Head includes a menu of activities from which teens can choose that are designed to tease out concepts and strategies like mindfulness, maintaining good relationships and asserting needs in a youth-friendly and engaging way.

Kathryn Robertson and Kathy Hodges of the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin both enjoyed the online Flex Your Head training and are offering the program to Club teens this year. “I love the activities that teach youth about mental wellness,” Kathryn says. “The program really breaks down the stigma around mental illness.” Kathy agrees, adding that a relaxed and teen-friendly space allows the youth to problem solve as a group in a very supportive way. “We’re giving our young people a safe place to talk about feelings and think about the kind of person they want to be.”

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Alexandria- Boys and Girls Club of Leduc
Alexandria- Boys and Girls Club of Leduc

THANK YOU for your support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada!!  Because of you, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is able to provide opportunities for youth like Alexandria. Alexandria was a Club Kid at the Boys and Girls Club of Leduc, where she made friends, gained new skills, and built confidence through leadership opportunities.

See below for Alexandria's story about her experiences at her local Club– and how Boys and Girls Clubs are helping youth find achieve their full potential.


Alexandria was a shy, reserved child when she first walked into the Boys and Girls Club of Leduc five years ago. Today, she is a confident leader and role model, chasing her post-secondary dream and eager to give back to the community.

“The Boys and Girls Club brought me out of my hardened exterior,” Alex recalled. “I lived on a reserve for the first 12 years of my life. Times were tough growing up . . . Where I came from, drugs and violence were the norm. When I moved to Leduc, I didn’t really want to make new friends but when I joined the Boys and Girls Club, the staff and volunteers helped me see myself differently. They told me, ‘you’re an awesome person, you can make friends. We’re here to make you feel accepted.’ That really made me feel like I could finally open up. I started shedding my tough exterior and started becoming the person I am today.”

This year, the bubbly 17-year old completed high school and will now channel her passion for the arts, learning and child care into a Bachelor of Education and Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

The budding high school teacher’s motivations are noble.  “I plan to get my education degree and major in Cree languages and move to a reserve again. I want to help people who haven’t had as many opportunities as me," she said.

“I never really thought university was a goal. My goal was to get through high school, day by day. It’s such a thrilling feeling to know that I’ve accomplished so much and there’s so much more now I want to do.”

Alex’s post-secondary dream was made a reality thanks to a Future Shop Future Generation scholarship, which provides recipients with funding for tuition to make the transition to post-secondary much easier. In addition to the scholarship, Future Shop in Edmonton also provided Alex with an iPod and a laptop loaded with amazing programs.

“Without the scholarship, I would have finished high school but I would be applying for student loans to get money for university and balancing a part-time job . . . It would have meant more stress and pressure for sure,” she said. “The laptop has definitely allowed me to be more creative with my projects, strengthen my computer skills and make it easier to do research. I had a computer at home but it was a big old clunky one.”

Alex has no doubt her journey would have been “more rocky” without the support of the Boys and Girls Club, what she calls ‘my second family, my home away from home.’

“The Boys and Girls Clubs taught me self-respect and I grew from a hoodlum child to a young woman with a purpose to help everyone. I made it through because I had the support of the whole Boys and Girls Club behind me. If I had a bad day, they’d always be there and encourage me not to give up,” said Alex.

Carol, who works at the Leduc club and has seen Alex blossom through the years, said Alex’s success story was one that really resonates at the Club.  “She’s definitely developed her confidence and perseverance. I remember when she received the scholarship at Future Shop and her saying, ‘people do believe in me.’ Her whole outlook changed,” she said. “Alex has started her first year at university and she made a lasting effect on the kids in our Club. They still talk about her fondly.”

It’s evident that the members have had a lasting effect on Alex too. “Today, I’m a leader,” Alex said proudly. “Seeing the kids light up and tell me they want to be like me, it’s crazy actually. In the past, i someone said to me, all of these kids look up to you and want to be like you…I would have just shrugged it off. Now I tell them every day they can be anything they want to be.”


What do you think? Are you interested in more information about how you can support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada? Please get in touch – you can reach Sarah at or 1-844-477-7272 x271.

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Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Location: Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Project Leader:
Bernadette Arreola
Toronto, Ontario Canada

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