Kids Need Us More Than Ever

Letter to the Editor (Lancaster Online, September 11, 2022)

Our youth are in crisis and kids urgently need us. But who is willing to serve? We are at the beginning of an emerging crisis, and I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better. Teachers, social workers and youth-serving professionals have been carrying the social-emotional brunt of COVID-19’s impact on our kids for over two years. They are exhausted — and there’s no end in sight.

It’s time for the strongest among us to step up and be there for our kids. Show you care enough to teach them how to dribble a basketball or throw a football, color with them, play cards or just listen. Lend us your hearts and your hands to ensure kids are surrounded by adults who care about them and believe in them.

Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, and other youth organizations, need adults in our community to be there for kids after school. Your role as a full- or part-time employee, volunteer or coach will change their lives forever. We can’t let the kids down. Not now. Not when they need us the most.

Here at the Club, we are well-positioned to serve children in our community, but we need you! We need you to join our team to keep doors open for kids who need a safe, positive place after school. If we don’t collectively add more people to the broader youth-serving system, we will burn out these irreplaceable, amazing individuals. We can’t afford to lose any more time.

Karen Schloer, CEO
Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster

Investing in Out-of-School Time

Letter to the Editor (Lancaster Online, June 6, 2022)

Our kids are in crisis. After more than two years of uncertainty and interrupted learning, the academic and social-emotional toll is clear — our kids need increased access to programs, services and caring adults more than ever.

Recently, Pennsylvania House Bill 2429 was introduced to invest in quality programs by creating the Building Opportunity through Out-of-School Time (BOOST) Grant Program. This initiative would support community-serving nonprofits such as the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, where we provide quality after-school programs for just $1 per year.

At Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, we see the inequities and challenges facing our young people every day. We have witnessed firsthand the impacts of the pandemic, and we are gravely concerned about its lasting impact on children. The time to act is now.

We remain committed to providing every child with the opportunity for a better future, no matter their background; to ensuring that success is within reach for every young person who enters our doors; and to helping everyone reach their full potential.

But we can’t do it alone. We urge our legislators to act now.

It’s on all of us to move the needle for our youth, creating real opportunity based on kids’ potential — not on the circumstances that surround them. Our young people are the promise of tomorrow. Prioritizing and investing in out-of-school time not only leads to better outcomes for our kids, but also to a healthier, safer and more prosperous Lancaster.

Karen Schloer, CEO
Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster

Programs at our Clubs

Come hang out with us! Our Clubs make after-school programming and tutoring available to all youth, ages 6 to 18 in Lancaster City and downtown Columbia. Clubhouses are open from 3pm to 7pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Our professional staff offer Club members a variety of programs and activities in a safe, engaging, age-appropriate environment that center kids’ physical, emotional, cultural, social, and educational needs.

POWER HOUR!

Come get your homework done at the Club around lots of caring adults who can help with reading, math, science, and writing. Power Hour encourages our members to consistently show up for their learning and academic growth.

ARTS & CRAFTS

Clubs have so many creative ways for youth to plug in! Whether it’s art projects, poetry, dance, puppet-making, or theater; we have something for everyone to get the creative energy flowing.

ATHLETICS

Basketball, kickball, dodgeball, foursquare! We play pick up and we host tournaments. There’s always an opportunity to get a game going!

STEM

Our Club members have amazing minds and imaginations, so there are plenty of chances to test your science and technology skills with us. With STEM programming at Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, you could be well on your way to becoming a STEM leader of tomorrow!

COMPUTER LAB

Each Boys & Girls Club has a Computer Lab, and they are always full of Club Members building their tech skills. Use our computers for homework, playing approved games, job searching, poster-making, and more.

GAMES ROOM

The Games Room is always a popular place at the Club. Come play air hockey, ping pong, foosball, and pool with your friends. Sign up for a tournament and earn buck points if you win!

Roberto Clemente Field Report

Roberto Clemente is a fun, safe space for kids to play in the Southeast neighborhood of Lancaster City. It was renovated in the fall of 2018 and is used regularly by community organizations all over Lancaster.

Just this year, over 2,000 youth have used the field!

12 Community Partners ran programs on the field.

Organizations, including the Club, provided 1,292 hours of programming!

Learn more about Roberto Clemente Field and how to reserve it. If you’d like information about how to become an MVP volunteer to help keep the field open to others in the neighborhood, please contact Sam Sweigert at ssweigert@bgclanc.org.

BGCL Community Schools

Boys & Girls Club Community Schools are located in the School District of Lancaster (SDoL) at Price and Washington Elementary. “Community Schools is a local engagement strategy that creates and coordinates opportunities with its public school to accelerate student success. It serves as a vehicle for hyper-local decision-making that responds to the unique needs of each community,” –Coalition for Community Schools

*All photographs taken by Bianca Cordova Photography

During the 2021-2022 school year, Boys & Girls Club engaged with over 45 different partners between both schools and served a total of 949 students and their families. Programming was built around data-based decisions, collaborative leadership, integrated students supports, and family & community engagement.

These schools held vaccination clinics, kindergarten carnivals, family literacy classes, workshops around lead and asthma risks, neighborhood walks, and welcoming committees. They supported families with early morning programs, access to health clinics and services, mental health resources, school supplies and clothing donations, and provided multiple opportunities to connect with school staff throughout the year.

Community School Directors

Community School Directors (CSDs) recruit, coordinate, and strengthen intentional partnerships between their school and its neighbors, families, staff, and community organizations. They serve on the school’s leadership teams and provide various supports to students and staff throughout the school year and the summer.

Phoebe and Bianca are two of our amazing Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster employees that are doing amazing work with SDoL students! To learn more about the Community Schools movement, visit the Coalition for Community School‘s website. If you have questions about BGCL’s Community Schools at Price and Washington, feel free to reach out to Community Impact Director, Sam Sweigert at ssweigert@bgclanc.org.