More than two years into the coronavirus pandemic, children still remain affected by the prolonged loss of classroom learning, leading to academic and developmental setbacks. However, local youth-serving organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs expand services and have been resilient champions in reversing these effects.
During the beginning of the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Clubs kept their doors open to children of first-responders and other essential employees to allow parents to continue serving the community at its greatest time of need. Since then, the organization has continued to expand services thanks to flexible funding from the community.
A $250,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation was awarded earlier this year towards flexible funding to support the organization’s operations, programming, and scholarships for Club members. With six locations throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, each community has different needs and, with the still present pandemic, things are liable to change throughout the year.
“Barancik Foundation’s investment in our community has supported our youth during times of uncertainty and has empowered thousands of Club members to succeed now and in the future,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. “The last two years highlighted how important flexible funding is, and this means that our organization can allocate this funding to wherever the greatest need may be for our youth and families.”
Youth development programs have long been recognized as an effective way to help young people reach their full potential. Such programs typically offer a range of activities, including mentorship opportunities, workshops on essential life skills, and recreational activities that promote teamwork and social interaction.
Afterschool programs like the Boys & Girls Clubs are now identified as a critical tool to help reverse the setbacks of the pandemic. The organization awards scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need and make up the majority of their members. The benefits of these programs are clear and well-documented, with studies showing that they can help improve educational outcomes, reduce rates of delinquency and violence, and boost overall self-esteem.
In addition to the individual benefits of these programs, there are also many positive impacts on society as a whole. Not only can these programs help create more productive citizens for the future, but they also provide communities with a sense of shared purpose by promoting closer ties between youth and adults.
Sadlo reports that this is why flexible funding is so crucial to the organization's success. Flexible funding will enable staff to respond to any changing needs or demands of the communities and neighborhoods they serve while ensuring that standards remain of the highest caliber.
ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA AND DESOTO COUNTIES:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties have played an integral role in the lives of local youth for more than 50 years, providing daily programs and services to thousands of young people. The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The vision is to provide a world-class Club experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit www.bgcsdc.org or call 941-366-3911.