A Message from the Executive Director, Al Womack, Jr.…….
The most dangerous time in a child’s life is between the hours of 3pm and 8pm. Those are the times when youth are susceptible of becoming the victim or perpetrator of crime. It’s a frightening reality that we must all be aware of. This is the time when our kids are most likely to get in trouble. We all know the dangers that our youth face today, as trouble is waiting for them the moment that they walk out of the door. Young people are forced to deal with life and death pressures on a regular basis. In our community alone truancy, crime, school expulsions, teen pregnancy are sobering reminder. Our young people are at risk. Many people think that “At Risk” has a color, or economic status, but it doesn’t. The moment our children leave our sight, they are at risk. They are at risk on the way to the bus stop. They are at risk while at school. They are at risk on their way home. They are even more at risk when left unsupervised! 15 million kids are left unsupervised during after school hours. Do you know where your kids are? Are they safe?
So what can we as a community do to keep our children safe? Give them an alternative to trouble. Give them something positive to do in the afternoons!
At the Boys & Girls Club of Alton, our mission: To enable young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
Boys & Girls Club of Alton is deeply dedicated to its role as a youth development agency. More than just another organization, we are part of a national movement. Our club is a local expression of a national network of more than 4,000 Clubs. We provide after-school and summer programming in the Alton community to more than 1,000 children annually with an average daily attendance of 230.
The Boys & Girls Club of Alton offers a wide range of programs in the following areas: Education & Career Development; Health & Life Skills; Character & Leadership Development; The Arts; and Sports, Fitness & Recreation. Every day, staff members at the Boys & Girls Club stand in the gap and help kids with their homework, re-enforce learning concepts taught during the school day with fun educationally redeeming programs.
These programs have been shown to be effective. Last year, more than 200 members participated in the Club’s Power Hour program (homework assistance). Of those members tracked, more than 80% either maintained or improved their grades from one academic quarter to another.
Our annual membership fees are $20.00 per member compared to the $500 annual cost to provide programming to just one child. This fee is low primarily so that everyone can afford to belong. The club is not limited to children from difficult circumstances, but available for children and families that need us most. While fund raising and community support is critical to our agency, funding and support from our affiliates: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, United Way of Greater St. Louis- Southwest Illinois Division, Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs has been the life blood of the club
Quality after-school programs dramatically reduce risks while helping students develop the values and skills they need to become good neighbors and responsible adults.
Research supports the multiple benefits of after school programs:
- Children stay safe and avoid problems. Students participating in quality after-school programs are twice as likely to avoid cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, and are three times less likely to become teen parents.
- Academic performance improves. Stimulating after-school programs offer unique opportunities for youth to explore interests and develop skills, resulting in better grades, greater academic enthusiasm and improved attendance.
- Social skills improve. Students develop positive relationships with other students and adults, which leads to better behavior in and out of school.