For every hour a child spends in school, he or she spends two hours out of school.
And how kids spend those after-school and summer hours can significantly impact their lives. Youths without direction often find trouble. Those with access to a safe place with caring adult mentors and enriching programs have a significantly better opportunity for success.
That’s why Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland are so important.
Challenges for our kids
Ninety percent of our kids live in poverty.
In the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, only two-thirds of all students graduate, and illiteracy remains a chronic problem in the community. Some of our kids are hungry and undernourished. Many live in dangerous neighborhoods. In a single calendar year, 11 of the 94 people killed by gun violence in Cuyahoga County had ties to our Clubs.
As BGCC President Ron Soeder said at the Greater Cleveland Community Caucus: “I’m tired of seeing children killed in Cleveland. I’m tired of seeing teddy bears on telephone poles.”
The odds seem stacked against our kids. We can improve them.
A solution that works
Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland provide a safe place for children to learn and grow, to develop ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, to engage in life-enhancing programs and to create a culture of hope and opportunity.
Our mission is to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
But what about all the obstacles we mentioned earlier?
We provide a safe haven for kids and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty. Ninety-six percent of our regularly attending teens graduate from high school; 94 percent of our members progress to the next grade on time. We can’t always prevent food insecurity, but at each site we do serve kids hot meals every day — more than 170,000 of them each year. We also give them positive programming: athletics, arts, music, horticulture, graphic design, dance and more.
We are active in making our neighborhoods safer. The Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, our violence-prevention arm, uses outreach workers to help curb street violence through mediation, gang interaction, conflict resolution, case management, family services and intervention following violent incidents.
Clubs help save lives. They are a good value as well.
A study commissioned by Boys & Girls Clubs of America found that Clubs are a sound investment, providing nearly $10 in benefits to the community for every dollar invested. The study, conducted by the Institute for Social Research and the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, found that every dollar invested in Boys & Girls Clubs returns $9.60 in current and future earnings, as well as cost-savings, to American communities.
The biggest benefits are from Club members’ improved grades and reduced alcohol use and their parents’ earnings. The study’s findings show that a $4.8 million annual investment in BGCC operating costs results in more than $46 million in lifetime benefits to youth, families and society.
Clubs work — for kids, for parents and for the community.