At the Central Alabama organization, a new Teen Center built a little over a year ago is serving close to 100 teens a day. It serves as a beacon in that community to help this important segment of our population stay focused on graduating from high school and developing a plan for the future. Just across the parking lot is the Club, also a stunning facility, which serves almost 200 kids a day. All of the programs focus on the core outcome areas of academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles.
Following a meeting with staff, a board meeting was convened to discuss challenges and opportunities as well as the Great Futures Plan. The board is fully engaged in the tenets of the programmatic efforts, including implementation of Summer Brain Gain, the summer learning loss prevention program, as well as a menu of other Boys & Girls Club programs.
We also met with community stakeholders, including the mayor, United Way representatives, business leaders and other civic stakeholders. CEO Tom Cleckler is an icon of the Boys & Girls Club Movement and continues to lead a progressive and dynamic agenda with the assistance of V.P. of Development Kim Turner and Board Chair Carl Crosby.
At the A.G. Gaston Club, the focus was on the introduction and kickoff of Center for a New Generation (CNG), a program designed by Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Susan Ford to enhance academic success, STEM skills, and fine arts talent by delivering key enrichment programs to elementary-age students in conjunction with their schools. After expanding to Dallas and Birmingham in 2014, CNG will be offered in Indianapolis next year.
CEO Frank Adams is leading an impact and community partnership agenda to serve more kids, more often, and derive greater outcomes. After visiting with kids at the Club, the board met to discuss key challenges kids face in our nation and how the Great Futures Plan was built to address many of the academic, health and civic needs of kids today.
Transportation is an issue for the Club. Every day after school, they pick up kids at 39 schools and bring them back to the Club. The new site at the Hayes School provides a seamless transition to out-of-school time programs. With this in mind, I met with Birmingham Mayor William Bell to discuss challenges kids face in Birmingham, what Boys & Girls Clubs and the A.G. Gaston organization are doing to support the infrastructure, and how we can help in a bigger way.
Mayor Bell is eager to continue advancing the partnership with the A.G. Gaston Club and looks forward to future expansion. We also discussed the program My Brother’s Keeper and the mayor's active involvement with it at the national level.
At the community meeting to kickoff Center for a New Generation, we conducted a Q&A about challenges in Birmingham and how the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Formula for Impact and Strategic Plan is built to address such needs. The community was enthusiastic about the direction, as well as the National Youth Outcomes Initiative (NYOI). In particular, the United Way was anxious to learn more about the data collected through the initiative. NYOI is a tremendous opportunity to communicate the return on investment and programmatic efforts to enhance kids’ lives. Clubs should ensure stakeholders like their local United Ways can see and hear the vital information available through NYOI.
All in all, it was a great day for kids, a great day for Birmingham and a great day for families.