A Look Back
Through quality programming and engagement, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond is able to help young people build skills and develop their innate talents. To ensure that members’ needs and interests are being met, programming has been divided into “bands” for this school year, allowing members to focus on a specific skill set. There are three program bands which correspond to natural breaks in the school calendar, all of which have a theme of “I Have a Voice.”
Throughout the year, members will work on social-emotional skills (empathy, initiative, problem-solving); enjoyment of reading; and life skills (preparation for career/post-secondary education, healthy lifestyles/choices, financial literacy, community engagement). While the members are working on those skills, we’re measuring the outcomes of our quality programming and engagement with thorough evaluation and feedback.
We’re excited to share with you what our young people accomplished during Band One.
The Ready2Win teen program began its first full year, providing more than 264 middle and high school members a variety of opportunities including team building, group projects, college visits and mentoring, career planning and community service.
As part of Ready2Win programming, 40 teens met twice a week for group projects. The teens collaborated on their vision for a teen space, crafting interior design, programming, marketing, entrepreneurship and community service plans and ideas. They also prepared presentations of their work for their peers and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond staff. This project helped bolster their skills in communication and teamwork while also exposing them to new career paths.
Talents on Display
For many young people, one way to find their voice was through visual and performing arts.
Members from MLK, Jr. and Fairfield Court Clubs had the opportunity to participate in the Art After School program sponsored by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. The members, along with other young people from around the city, learned from the Center’s teachers about different forms of art. Everyone’s work was celebrated at VisArts in a special exhibition.
Art is a popular program at all of our Clubs. While the members are doing something they enjoy, they are also building social-emotional skills and learning to find their voice. At Northside, Ms. Maragh’s art program has given members a creative outlet to express their feelings about the world around them, as represented in the Halloween-themed project pictured above.
Other members were able to take to the stage. Fairfield members participated in a dance program at the Robinson Theater. The program culminated with the Youth Showcase at the theater, bringing the Richmond Community together. Check out the video from the event, courtesy of the Robinson Theater.
Whether it was on a trail or in a ring, our young people were active during the fall. The activities not only promoted healthy lifestyles, but also helped to build confidence, teach goal-setting and teamwork, and improve communication skills.
The Southside Running Club made great strides in its first few months. The group set small goals each session and worked their way to up to their first race. They’ve continued to maintain their goals and have set bigger ones for the spring!
Fairfield members enjoyed their time spent with the East End Boxing Club. The instructors also served as mentors for the youth, spending time talking with them after each session about discipline, motivation, dedication and goals.
Making an Impact
The ultimate goal at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond is to create a safe space for a young person to thrive. Programming helps youth to be engaged in the Clubs and build important relationships. The combination of both leads to noticeable changes in our young people.
Six-year-old Caleb joined the Club in September. On the first day, Caleb spent about 15 minutes in the Club after deciding this was not the place for him. But he came back the next day, staying a little longer, and by the end of the week, Caleb had spent a whole day at the Club.
Caleb’s favorite program quickly became “Read and Create” in which members read a book and do an art project based on the story. Caleb especially enjoyed reading “Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library” and making his own dragon afterward.
Over the last three months, Caleb has become an essential part of the Club. He is always the first person in line for check-in and he even helped give a tour to a new member. Caleb has grown so much and his family has said they’ve noticed a change in him at home.