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Clubs served more than 310,00 healthy meals and snacks during FY19.

For more than 10 years, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation (HPHCF) has played an integral role in helping Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston members live healthy lifestyles. This life-changing partnership began when HPHCF challenged BGCB to take a more holistic approach to wellness programming and provided funding for a Wellness Coordinator to lead the charge.

In recent years, the focus of BGCB and HPHCF’s partnership has evolved to providing access to fresh produce and teaching members and their families how to prepare nutritious meals. With support from Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation and Himmel Hospitality Group, seven Clubs have their own gardens. Club members grow, taste and cook fresh vegetables, take cooking classes with their families, and even “assist” chefs at the Himmel restaurants. Throughout the year, Clubs host a Farm to Family dinner series where families eat together and receive free produce and recipes to take home.

Member picking up tray of healthy food

In 2019, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation funded a new Chef Series with a focus on life skills including basic cooking, food shopping, and food safety. Members can even earn their Food Safety Certifications through the program, helping them find jobs both inside and outside of the Club. BGCB Clubs completed four sessions of the series, each lasting four to six weeks, and look forward to expanding the program in the coming years.

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BGCB would not be able to provide the breadth and depth of our programming without the help and financial support of partners like HPHCF. With their support, we are able to improve the health and wellbeing of the more than 14,000 youth we serve, helping to build a healthier Boston.

Healthy Development Beyond Nutrition

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s approach to healthy development doesn’t end with nutrition. BGCB Clubs offer a variety of sports and recreational activities—including team sports, hiking, yoga, and even surfing—to keep children active. These programs teach healthy habits, stress management, teamwork, and social skills, all of which support lifelong well-being.

All BGCB staff work to promote mental health, self-esteem, and resiliency, making Clubs safe spaces for members to practice healthy decision making. Social Workers at each of the larger Clubs also engage members in programming designed to promote social and emotional well-being.

The positive Club environment, supportive staff, and range of activities and programs all work together to maximize positive outcomes for youth, despite the challenges and opportunity gaps they face in their lives and communities.