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We are proud to share that we have just completed five weeks of fun-filled summer programs at eight Club locations while continuing to provide virtual programs for members at 10 of our locations. We made this possible by combining thorough safety precautions that go above and beyond state guidelines with engaging programs led by our incredible staff and program partners.

Throughout July and August, members of Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Club, Charlestown Club, Edgerley Family South Boston Club, Franklin Hill Club, Gerald and Darlene Jordan Club, Mattapan Teen Center, Orchard Gardens Club, and Yawkey Club of Roxbury returned to their Club locations for the first time since March. While the same group of familiar and friendly staff was there to welcome them, members learned how to follow a host of new physical distancing and sanitization protocols that ensured everyone’s safety.

With all Clubs operating at a maximum of 35% of normal in-person capacity, rooms in each building were occupied by no more than 10 youth members and two adult staff at a time. Within each room, all members and staff wore masks, observed physical distancing protocols, and disinfected their spaces throughout the course of each day. Five additional nurses were hired to help facilitate ongoing diligent health monitoring of all members and staff on a day-to-day basis. For a detailed overview to safety protocols and precautions in Clubs, click here.

Fun and effective programs

New protocols changed the day-to-day operations inside of Clubs, but members were able to enjoy our typical fun and educational summer activities focused on BGCB’s three key outcome areas: Academic & Life Success, Healthy Development, and Character & Community. While members have enjoyed a host of videos and live Zoom sessions promoting activities in these areas, it’s safe to say that they appreciated the opportunity to participate in the in-person Club experience they have enjoyed for so long.

 Academic & Life Success 

BGCB strives to equip members with the skills, knowledge, training, and education they need to pursue their goals and interests. Academic & Life Success programming in Clubs covered a range of topics, including STEM and literacy, music and arts, and career readiness and financial literacy.

Charlestown Club’s “Zoom Group” did a unit focused on cars and motors and finished the week with a capstone project where members built and raced model cars. During this project, they experimented by weighing down their model cars with rocks to see how the additional weight impacted the speed in which the cars traveled down a ramp.

Yawkey Club of Roxbury members celebrated a “Multicultural Week” focused on learning about a diverse range of cultures from countries around the world. Groups explored the customs and cuisines from different countries, and even made flags from around the world.

Healthy Development 

Another one of BGCB’s primary goals is teaching members how to make and model healthy physical, social, and emotional choices. This summer, we accomplished this through a variety of activities that covered the spectrum of healthy development, including age-specific fitness programs, on-site social work resources, and healthy meals served throughout the day.

A couple of highlights include Charlestown Club members enjoying outdoor Zumba classes by the Bunker Hill Monument and members at Gerald and Darlene Jordan Club in Chelsea enjoying a socially-distanced yoga class. All Clubs served members a healthy breakfast and lunch during each day of summer programs, distributed produce boxes to families, and thanks to American Central Kitchen and Off Their Plate, Gerald and Darlene Jordan Club members took home eight meals to their family each week.

 Character & Community  

BGCB is also focused on helping members develop healthy relationships with peers and adults, while building character to be role models and leaders in their communities. This summer, members had a chance to get to know and cooperate with a consistent small group of peers while they worked on different projects each week. One group of members at Yawkey Club of Roxbury displayed the chemistry of their group on their Thursday SHOW OFF that you can watch below. Members at Charlestown Club were able to put together floral arrangements for the families and residents at the Zelma Lacey House.

Incredible community partnerships

A huge part of BGCB’s impact in the community has always been attributed to its expansive network of community partners, and this summer was no different. We are so grateful to our partners who went the extra mile to ensure they could still play a role in our members’ experiences this summer and serve them with their programs and expertise.

At Orchard Gardens Club, Charlestown Club, Edgerley Family South Boston Club, Yawkey Club of Roxbury, and Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Club, City of Boston’s ReadBoston Virtual Story Mobile “Zoomed in” for a virtual reading hour with members. Members across several Clubs benefitted from a series of Financial Literacy Workshops with partners First Republic Bank, Conexion, and Bank of America. BGCB’s longstanding partnership with MFA Boston was also able to resume, as MFA Liaisons led members in virtual art classes across Clubs. Additionally, Ready to Work began producing a weekly podcast by partnering with New England Patriots’ Senior Media and Content Developer Mackenzie Knoop.

Throughout the summer, Yasso visited Clubs serving their delicious frozen yogurt dessert treats and hosting physically-distanced ice cream socials. These safe and scrumptious gatherings were thoroughly enjoyed by members across Clubs.

Sustaining our mission in the midst of the pandemic

Reopening Clubs is just the latest in a sequence of decisive and deliberate steps taken to respond to the challenges our families in the communities of Boston and Chelsea face.

In March, seemingly overnight, our staff leapt into action to provide virtual programming through daily Zoom calls and video content that has resulted in more than 35,000 views. As an organization that thrives on mentorship and providing role models for youth, we were able to maintain contact with approximately 1,200 members each week through diligent outreach. And even during physical closures of Club facilities, our staff was able to utilize those locations to further meet the needs of our community by distributing thousands of much-needed supplies, including hygiene products, meals, toys, art kits, cleaning supplies, Chromebooks, grocery gift cards, and more.

After a successful five weeks of in-person summer programs, we look forward to continuing to find creative and effective ways to serve our communities and sustain the mission to serve our youth that has guided BGCB for nearly 130 years.

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