“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. ”
Throughout Whitney Houston’s hit song, Greatest Love of All, she reminds us how important children are to the success of a community and the future of humanity. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona programs convey valuable life skills that are enriching, educational, entertaining, and interactive while ensuring that their members are having fun.
The Clubs focus on academic success by helping to establish productive study habits that include daily homework assistance. Additionally, they help with character development and leadership by developing a positive self-identity and values that enable their members to be responsible citizens. Under the direction and guidance of professional staff, members become community leaders of the future.
Over the past year and a half, the ongoing pandemic has hit everyone hard, but none harder than families with school-age children. Families had to choose between work and caring for their kids. The Boys & Girls Clubs stepped up to serve the community throughout the pandemic by increasing hours to offer a full-time program and dedicated schedule to support distance learning.
As schools reopened, the Clubs continued with their life-changing After-School Program and their full-time Summer Program, including much-needed recreational activities, such as field trips and an exciting new Mountain Biking Program. Led by trained and experienced instructors, this program offers fun rides, skill clinics, and bike repair workshops organized around age and ability. Moreover, the Mountain Biking Program aids in keeping kids healthy and connected with nature.
All of these fantastic activities require funding and the Boys & Girls Clubs have always managed to keep the fun in fundraising. Their Dancing for the Stars is a local version of the famed reality TV program, featuring local celebrities paired with professional dancers. The event also typically includes a dazzling performance by Club members. And their take on the classic golf fundraiser is “Lights Out,” a nighttime competition with glow-in-the-dark golf balls and neon decorated carts.
Events like these – and support from the United Way of Yavapai County – help Clubs invest in children’s futures, which have included 3,480 hours of programming, 16,590 Clubhouse visits, and service to more than 669 members in 2020 alone.
Local Clubs’ programs provide youth and their families with life-changing opportunities, shaping lives like Mary’s, a second-generation Club member. Her dad attended the Club for ten years after moving to the area, and now Mary has the opportunity to grow and build memories in the same Club. Club alum Dad says, “What they do for the children impacts more than they know. They might not see it now, but 20-plus years later is when it happens”.
That’s because the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona understand that “Great Futures Start Here.”