Broward County Boys & Girls Clubs instill confidence in kids through character-building programs

There’s more than meets the eye to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. What started as an after-school program in 1965, has become a multipronged approach to youth development focused on academic success, good character, citizenship and healthy lifestyles. From art classes to SAT prep, mentoring and leadership programs to nutritious meals and physical fitness classes, the clubs’ programming is designed to provide access to academic, professional and health opportunities. But at its core, its initial purpose has never wavered: to provide a safe space for members to stay after school to continue on a pathway for lifelong success.

Today, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, includes 11 clubs and one teen center. The organization serves more than 12,300 youth annually, where 67% of the members come from a single parent household. “By having a club here, it allows parents to work knowing there is a safe place for their kids to come when the schools are closed,” said Chris Gentile, Chief Development Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County has been named a Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® award recipient twice, first in 2008 and again in 2017. Each time as a recipient, the organization received $200,000 in flexible grant funding, and leadership development and training for both its executive director and an emerging leader in the organization.

“Through the funding that we’ve received from the Neighborhood Builders award, we have been able to develop our whole workforce development and college and careers strategy,” said Brian Quail, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. Through these new programs, the organization introduces teens to new opportunities and career fields, including aviation, construction and woodworking. Through the workforce development program, teens can prepare for their next steps — both academic and professional first job — laying the foundation for continued success.

“Growing up, my mom was doing everything she could so that I could have a meal and we’d have a place to stay. Working from early mornings to late nights, and after work, she’d go to school. It was tough,” said Kayla Williams, a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs. “In middle school, I was not motivated, but when I got to the Boys & Girls Clubs, I saw how other kids were motivated and how the staff really care about you and your future. The Boys & Girls Clubs has given me the power to be confident, and confidence plays a big part in everything you do. If I can do this, I can do anything.”

Since 2004, Bank of America's Neighborhood Builders program has helped advance sustainable communities by investing more than $220 million in 49 communities — partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders and counting.

Learn more about how the Neighborhood Builders program helps nonprofit partners advance economic mobility and supports skills development for nonprofit leaders, powering nonprofits like Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County to build thriving communities.

Originally published 12/20/2018

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