For the past 75 years, the BGCL has concentrated our focus and energy where there is the greatest potential to rebalance the success equation for our kids’ lives and Lancaster’s future: their after-school time and during the summer. For every hour a child spends in school, they spend two out of school. What happens between school and home has a dramatic impact on kids’ futures. These moments are absolutely vital in determining the course of a child’s life.
During each school year, roughly 17,400 Lancaster County kids (1 in 4) leave school with no place to go, putting them at risk of being unsupervised, unguided, and unsafe during these critical after-school hours. During the summer months, 4 out of 5 Lancaster City kids lack access to summer learning programs, increasing their risk of learning loss and putting them at a disadvantage before the school year even begins.
By providing access to positive and productive after-school and summer programs, as well as caring adult mentors, we intentionally intervene in the lives of our Club members, creating more and more positive Life Moments. We work tirelessly to reverse the most negative trends facing our youth and our country, including low graduation rates, drug abuse, violence, and obesity.
When young people have access to a safe place with caring adult mentors and enriching programs during this crucial out-of-school time, great things happen. Last year alone, we served nearly 36,000 hot, nutritious meals for our members. We provided after-school programs for over 3,000 members, academic enrichment programs for 1,000 youth, and a five-week summer camp program for 230 children. Over 400 members participated in meaningful service projects.
These programs are having an impact. Last year, 80 percent of our kids maintained or improved their good attendance records, and they are graduating high school at a rate that compares favorably to the average for all Lancaster City kids.
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
Since 1939, the BGCL has been reaching the kids who need us most with outcome-driven programs designed to increase their performance in the areas of education, health, and character development, including:
- Ensuring successful transitions to middle and high school, as well as fostering college/career readiness with 21st century skills.
- Engaging kids to take action in the community, promoting resilience, building character, and developing a fresh generation of leaders for the community, the region, and the nation.
- Motivating kids to be healthy through nutrition and health education, increased access to healthy foods, avoidance of risky behaviors, and a lifelong commitment to fitness.
NOW IS THE TIME. IS THIS YOUR MOMENT?
It’s clear that the children we serve face tremendous adversities at a tender age. They are hungry, lonely, scared, and often completely unsupervised after school. They are children who face grown-up problems every day, which is why our Clubhouses are a beacon of light in their neighborhoods.
Members are greeted with a smile, can safely laugh with friends, enjoy a hot and nutritious meal, and try new experiences.
Although we cannot fill a child’s refrigerator with food or make it so they won’t have to move every six months, we can give them a safe and positive space where they can have a hot meal and a stable destination they can come to after school. Likewise, we cannot change the fact that they will be approached by the drug culture or by gangs, but each of our programs are designed to provide tools to help the children we serve avoid these and other pitfalls in their neighborhoods. They can learn how to say no to drugs and gangs, participate in violence avoidance techniques, and have a place to simply enjoy childhood without having to worry about difficulties that even adults should not have to grapple with.
Today, we are perfectly positioned for a successful campaign. We have a long-standing track record of success, engaged corporate and non-profit partners, a committed leadership team, and a growing base of philanthropic investors. Our strategic goals are specific, relevant, and achievable, and the renewed energy that will only gain momentum during the campaign means that we will accomplish a great deal before it reaches its conclusion.
If we can count on the inspiration and generosity of committed individuals like you, we will provide the next generations of Lancaster youth with a safe, nurturing, enduring place where they can belong and reach their full potential as the productive, responsible, and caring citizens that our world so badly needs!