Clubs have rallied behind their mission to ensure all youth have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to keep kids on track academically, especially during a pandemic that has dramatically impacted the education of millions of young people nationwide. As youth experience their communities and regions reopen, close down, and reopen again, in vastly different ways, they will need different supports and resources to stay engaged. This fall, some schools staggered in-person attendance, while others have remained entirely virtual or adopted strategies that can change with only a few days’ notice. Through it all, Clubs have remained flexible, responsive and focused on supporting the academic success of each of their youth through virtual engagement, partnerships and academic enrichment programs like Power Hour.
Thanks to a generous grant from Ross Stores, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada has been agile, adaptive and creative throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From March to June, the Club found a way to serve youth and efficiently deploy staff in new ways. They focused on high-quality, coordinated virtual activities and a myriad of outreach strategies to encourage kids to attend, from calling parents, knocking on doors and texting members, one by one. And their efforts paid off: over 380 Club members participated in virtual programs, with over 2,000 combined hours of virtual story times and over 80 hours of live virtual programs.
In June, the Clubs reopened with a mix of Virtual Club and on-site instruction. This solution allowed youth to have high quality experiences no matter where they were throughout the summer months. When the local school district decided on 100% virtual distance learning at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, all-day (7am-7pm) youth services became an urgent need for working parents. In response, the Club shifted again to provide academic support throughout the school-day with on-site technology and upgraded Wi-Fi access to ensure students kept pace with their academic progress. Before and after school is when the Boys & Girls Clubs culture of fun kicks in.
In California, the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco never shut down thanks to grants from organizations like Ross Stores. Seven of their eight Clubs stayed open all spring. Over the summer, the Clubs served over 800 young people in person, with nearly 400 more through their Virtual Club. But the Clubs’ support of youth academic success is dramatically different this fall for one key reason: partnerships with schools.
From teachers to administrations, schools and the Clubs have strengthened their partnerships, turning to each other for support and collaboration to better serve youth. Together, they are filling gaps and delivering a youth-centered approach. The Club has also focused on coaching staff, defining what a high-quality experience should look like and committing to delivering that experience. The result? More motivated staff and kids, despite a global pandemic.
Though COVID-19 forced Clubs nationwide to reorganize and respond quickly, Clubs have rallied behind their mission to ensure all youth have the opportunity to reach their full potential. What’s made a big difference for the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada, the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and for Clubs nationwide is partnerships with generous donors like Ross Stores. Their support through COVID-19 has allowed Clubs to remain flexible, to expand academic enrichment programs like Power Hour and experiment with new ways of implementation. As Max Fenster from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada said, “as crazy as it sounds, our program quality has never been this good. COVID made us better than we’ve ever been before.”
Learn more about how Ross Stores and Boys & Girls Clubs are supporting youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.