Since its founding in 1860, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America has sought to provide opportunities to young people who otherwise don’t have access to the resources they need to succeed. To achieve this, the organization set up a network of Clubs across the country where boys and girls can participate in programs that promote education, sports, and leadership. Additionally, the Clubs have offered kids a safe place where they can escape from dangers often found in their communities.
Why Safety Is Important
According to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, when students have a safe option for refuge, they can escape bullying as well as violence in their neighborhoods. In the security of a Club, those young people gain a secure space where they can focus on their studies, character development, and the other lessons and values that will allow them to reach their potential. To reinforce Club members’ sense of safety, the organization also hosts events and programs that spread awareness of safety in the broader community.
Safety Through Advocacy
In 2018, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America met with leaders from youth-focused nonprofits to determine a plan for increasing members’ safety in light of recent violent events, such as the shooting that occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. During the event, the organization and youth leaders determined ways to boost both physical and emotional safety among young people. The discussion also resulted in ideas for how young people may act as advocates for change and how the organization can help facilitate that.
Safety From Bullying
Additionally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America teamed up with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to create a program to prevent bullying among young people. Wrestler Kofi Kingston starred in a video for the program and discussed his own experience with bullying and how young people who speak up can help put an end to the behavior.