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June 2, 2020

Dear Friends,

Since Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston had to physically close our locations in mid-March due to coronavirus, I have worried about our members and the effects of trauma from separation from school and the Clubs, lack of access to resources, and more. Together with sadness and stress caused by the pandemic, the events of the past few weeks—including the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many before them—have only amplified long-existing disparities borne of racism. Our community is justifiably saddened, frustrated, angered, and tired.

Last week, I reached out to our dedicated staff to implore them to take care of themselves. As an organization, the emotional well-being of our staff remains a priority as they continue to serve as role models and form positive relationships with our members. A key tenet of our mission is to help young people build strong character and realize their potential by providing opportunity. Creating a safe space to belong and thrive with equal opportunities has always been the very root of our important work.

Every day, we teach what I consider Boston’s and Chelsea’s greatest resource – its resilient youth – to advocate for themselves, know their worth, and take care of each other and their communities. When we are successful as an organization, our youth in turn are compelled to think, read, create art, ask questions, raise hands, vote, and speak up and speak out, including against violence and injustice toward Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. Our young people model our behavior, and they are watching us, now more than ever. The way we teach them to respond to the many stresses facing all of us greatly influences how history books will remember us in the future.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston stands in solidarity with the people and communities in our state, country, and beyond who continue to bear the physical, emotional, and economic effects of racism. We have existed for nearly 130 years because of our ability to adapt, learn, participate, and work to improve even when times are difficult. We will continue this important work to recognize and celebrate the value and talents of our staff and the young people, families, and communities we serve.

With gratitude,

Josh Kraft
Nicholas President and CEO
Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston

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