Read about a local organization that’s stepping up to help the region’s most at-risk children.
The goal of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati is to empower and enable all young people, especially those most at-risk, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.
“We believe every kid has what it takes,” the Boys & Girls Club says on its website. “The mission and core beliefs of Boys & Girls Clubs fueled our commitment to promoting safe, positive, and inclusive environments for all. Boys & Girls Clubs of america supports all youth and teens – of every race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, socio-economic status, and religion – in reaching their full potential.”
However, this year has been unlike any other in every sense of the word.
“The 2020-2021 school year poses some of the most significant challenges families across the region will ever face,” says Bill Bresser, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati. “As we have all seen, in the wake of COVID-19, many schools are beginning the year either fully virtual or are offering a blended approach where half their students will not be in a classroom on any given day.”
Additionally, many of the parents of those who are in the Boys & Girls Clubs work in essential jobs, are single others who live under the poverty level, have more than one child, and may not have access to the necessary child care or technology capabilities to meet the needs of children in this environment.
“These kids and families have already been disproportionately negatively affected by COVID-19 and the upcoming academic year looks as if more of the same is on the horizon,” adds Bresser. “But Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati was built to meet these needs.”
In an effort to provide the same services they have under intense situations, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati are operating from 8am-6pm five days per week. They also offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a morning and afternoon snack.
“We are partnering with other agencies to ensure our students have access to necessary mental and behavioral health services,” says Bresser. “We are installing new fioptics at each site to ensure we can accommodate the virtual academic needs of our students.
By opening the center in the morning The Boys & Girls Clubs will also allow for a safe space for parents to send their children and work alongside professional staff when they need to go to their essential jobs. The Boys & Girls Clubs are also stepping up in their academic assistance.
“We are hiring academic assistance leaders to assist students with take-home and virtual work,” says Bresser. “For students who may need additional assistance, we employ full-time Education Directors at each site. Our services, including the expanded academic time, will remain free for our families.”
Unfortunately, the pandemic has also put the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cincinnati in a spot of unplanned, additional expenses.
“We estimate that our COVID-19 response will cost us an additional $200,000 this school year,” he says. “We are working diligently to fill this gap, and although work still needs to be done, we are confident our community will step up to support these important efforts.”
To learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati or to support their mission, visit https://bgcgc.org.