Boys & Girls Clubs Offer Unique Opportunities for Children | local news | Wender Mind Kids

 Boys & Girls Clubs Offer Unique Opportunities for Children |  local news

The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of America is to inspire and empower all young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. The organization offers after-school, teen, sports and summer programs for youth, providing them with a safe place to learn and grow. Local Boys & Girls Clubs are located in both Bethalto and Alton.

The Bethalto Boys & Girls Club is now in its 54th year. Kathy Wilson has been Managing Director since 2002. She holds a degree in Social Education and has worked extensively for non-profit organizations throughout her career. She notes that her parents helped found the Bethalto Boys & Girls Club in 1968.

The Alton Boys & Girls Club celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Executive Director Al Womack, Jr. has led the organization since its inception in 1997. He says his business degree helped him prepare to lead the organization and he has always had an interest in helping local children help.

Both clubs offer summer programs as well as extracurricular curriculum throughout the school year. Wilson explains that all activities at Boys & Girls Clubs are aimed at stimulating children’s interest and giving them skills that they can use later in life. “We want the kids to learn, but we don’t want them to feel like they’re in school,” she says.

The programs fall into four general categories: academic success and career development, good character and citizenship, healthy living, and then programs in the arts, sports, fitness and recreation. Activities are generally structured separately for younger children and for teenagers.

Clubs offer a wide range of STEM programs and activities. The science, engineering, engineering and math activities prepare children for future careers in these fields. Healthy lifestyle programs include many courses based on curricula developed by the national Boys & Girls Club organization. Arts programs include drama, sewing, crafts, digital and audio arts. The programs are tailored to the specific interests of the children.

The Boys & Girls Clubs also offer fitness challenges, physical games and even cooking and gardening. Sport encompasses a variety of intramural activities. Previous programs have included tennis and basketball clinics. Volleyball and field hockey are also offered. Kids have had ping pong tournaments and learned how to watch sports playoffs. Swimming, rock climbing and indoor recreational games are just a few of the many activities children can take part in.

A number of annual activities in the area are sponsored and organized by the Boys & Girls Club organisations. Charitable Easter egg hunts, Halloween costumes or treats, Christmas shopping, and Christmas parties are just a few. The children also participate in programs that help the community, such as garbage disposal and visits to elderly people in nursing homes. Both directors emphasize the importance clubs place on citizenship and responsibility for their local communities.

All staff working with the children and at events are fully trained, background screened and screened. Both clubs are bus stops for their respective school districts, so parents don’t have to figure out how to get their kids from home to the club during the school year.

The Bethalto Boys & Girls Club is located at 324 E. Central Street in Bethalto. Complete information about the club, including dues, curriculum, events and activities is available online at bgcstl.org/bethalto. Wilson also encourages anyone interested in learning more about the club and its programs to call her at 618-377-6030.

The Alton Boys & Girls Club is located at 2512 Amelia Street in Alton. Extensive information about club activities and events is available online at bgcalton.org. The club can also be contacted by phone at 618-462-6249.

Both clubs also have Facebook pages with information and pictures.

The clubs always welcome anyone interested in donating, volunteering, sponsoring, or partnering with the organizations. Information on how you can help is available online or by calling the clubs directly.

Area Boys & Girls Clubs are a unique resource that provide children with exciting learning experiences, enable them to make friends and prepare them both physically and academically for the future. “We focus on the positive and give kids opportunities for bright futures,” says Womack, Jr. “We’re here for the kids.”

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