Here at United Way of Whitewater Valley, we are passionate about youth success. Not just because this is one of our 4 main areas of focus (youth success), but because children are the future of our community.
Each child in Wayne and Union counties deserves the chance to live a happy and healthy life. That is why we support organizations that are working towards that goal.
We love seeing organizations supporting youth in Wayne and Union counties. One of the organizations actively engaging in youth success is the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County. Their four locations can serve most of Wayne County kids. The mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Serving Children in Wayne County
In 2019, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County was able to reach over 34,215 individuals. Each year they serve about 2,000 children during the school year and the summer. They serve all children from the age of 6-18 at all four of their locations. Many of the children who go to the Boys and Girls Clubs attend Richmond Community schools or private schools in Wayne County. All children can go to their facilities to participate in one of their 42 after-school programs. The Boys and Girls Clubs is not just a regular after-school program. They are trying to instill values into each student they come into contact with.
Each of their programs encourages three things: academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. These values are intertwined into every program that is available to the children they serve. They also have leadership programs for their older children/teens. Programs like Keystone and Torch Club are teaching children leadership and how to give back to the community.
Kids Just Want to Have Fun
The Boys and Girls Clubs isn’t all work and no play. Each of their locations offers computer labs, homework help, game rooms, gymnasiums, arts & crafts and more! They encourage academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles by doing things that kids like! They get to play games in the gymnasium, use the computers in the computer lab, and create fun projects in the arts & crafts room.
What makes the Boys and Girls Clubs different from the other after-school programs? Well, first, their programs do not just run during the school year. They have summer programs for children at each of their four locations. Second, they don’t charge a weekly rate. Instead, they charge a yearly fee of $15. Last, they hire the best of the best; they understand that children need to be passionate about enabling children to live happy and healthy lives. The Boys and Girls Clubs works hard to provide programs to youth all over Wayne County.
New Location, Continued Legacy
The newly opened First Bank Unit at the Rev. James M. Townsend Memorial Building will be used to serve the North side of Richmond for many years to come. However, the first step was tackling the building repairs. Restoring this building would be an expensive renovation, and funds have been the main obstacle holding back the community from utilizing this unit.
That is before the Richmond Housing Authority was added to the equation. Recently the Richmond Housing Authority built apartment buildings close to the Townsend Building. In addition, the Richmond Housing Authority renovated the building to accommodate a partner. While the renovation was being completed, the Boys and Girls Clubs was contacted. They jumped at the opportunity to add a new location on the north side of Richmond.
The Richmond Housing Authority was able to lease the building to the Boys and Girls Clubs. This is where the process of fundraising began for the Boys and Girls Clubs. They wanted to do some long-term fundraising, and that means receiving pledges from community organizations. Through their hard work, the Boys and Girls Clubs received pledges for funding for the next 3-5 years. Receiving these pledges was a big deal, and the organization was excited to show the community all their hard work.
On May 22, they had their official open house. Community members were invited to come to tour the facility. Not only was this their open house event, but it was also their kickoff date. The following day children were able to enroll in programs. The community was thrilled to see that this long-standing building would be used to improve the lives of children. Some community members who attended the event commented that they remembered playing basketball in that very building, so seeing it restored to its original glory was touching. Not only did the community come together to fund the lease of the building, but they also supported children’s memberships.
Partnership and Collaboration
As a huge supporter of youth success in Wayne and Union counties, we could not pass up the opportunity to support our program partner, the Boys and Girls Clubs. As a result, in 2021, we were able to fund 35 scholarships at their new locations for children in Wayne County. These funds allow children to participate in the Boys and Girls Clubs programs for free. We also provide funding for several other programs: Too Good For Violence, After School Delinquency, and Project Learn.
After-school programs like what the Boys and Girls Clubs offer is precisely what youth in Wayne County need. These programs give children support they may not be receiving at home. Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County is not just supporting children, but they are building them up to live happier and healthier lives.
We have so many other fantastic agency partners working in our four areas of focus, childhood success, youth success, economic success, access to health. Read more about their stories here, or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about what we do.