America’s kids are in crisis. Our nation’s state of poor academic performance, obesity, drug use, and youth-related violence are cause for alarm and national action. A key component of the solution is out-of-school time. Yet every day, 15 million kids (1 in 4) leave school with no place to go, putting them at risk of being unsupervised, unguided and unsafe. During the summer, an alarming 43 million (3 out of 4) kids in America lack access to summer learning programs, increasing their risk of learning loss and putting them at a disadvantage before the school year starts.
Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America launches the Great Futures Campaign to call attention to the crisis facing kids and “redefine the opportunity equation” by elevating the role of out-of-school time in reversing these negative trends. The Great Futures Campaign, the Campaign for America’s kids, will mobilize the nation in support of after-school and summer programs that tackle these issues to inspire and empower more youth toward success.
“At Boys & Girls Clubs, we believe that every young person in America deserves a great future and that ensuring a safe, productive place for them to spend out-of-school time is a vital, yet overlooked, factor,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO for BGCA. “As the nation prepares to go back to school, we want to ensure that after school is part of the discussion because School + Out-of-School = Great Futures. We’re launching the Great Futures Campaign to galvanize the nation in support of out-of-school time programs to change the future for our kids and our country.”
Addressing the Crisis Facing Kids
The Campaign is a response to the issues facing youth and the country:
- Today’s generation is estimated to be worse off than their parents, the first in America’s history
- Our nation’s graduation rate ranks 22nd among 28 countries
- 3 out of 10 kids are obese or overweight
- 1 in 5 American kids lives in poverty
National economic implications include as much as $159 billion in lost taxes and higher government expenditures over the lifetimes of those who fail to graduate each year. Healthcare costs to treat issues related to childhood obesity total some $14.1 billion annually, and states spend an average of $7.1 million a day for youth in juvenile justice facilities.
To address these issues, Boys & Girls Clubs of America offers a variety of programs and resources in the areas of education, health and nutrition, and character and leadership development, at its more than 4,100 Clubs nationwide. Through the Campaign, the organization will grow the impact of its programs by reaching more youth through increased membership and attendance, and building the capacity of Clubs to provide a world-class experience for kids. BGCA will also develop new programs to close the achievement gap for kids most in need. It will expand programs like Summer Brain Gain to prevent summer learning loss, enhance STEM programs to nurture 21st century skills and deploy a robust teen engagement strategy to ensure more young adults are on track to graduate from high school, college- or career-ready.
School + Out-of-School = Great Futures
“Research shows that out-of-school time programs work. Kids who attend after-school and summer programs have better attendance, improved behavior, higher grades and test scores. The same is true for Club kids. In fact, 57% of Boys & Girls Club alumni say the Club saved their life,” said Clark. “We see living proof of the impact of out-of-school time every day. But it’s time to do more. It’s time to drive transformational change for the young people and communities served by Clubs.”
BGCA’s vision is that all Club members graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and leading a healthy lifestyle. The Campaign represents a strategic step in realizing this vision by achieving the following outcomes:
- Globally Competitive Graduates: By 2018, Clubs will help 1.4 million teens stay on track to graduate from high school; and 70% of Club seniors will be college bound. The power of Club teens on track to graduate by 2018: an estimated $8 billion in economic impact to the U.S.
- 21st Century Leaders: By 2018, 1.2 million Club teens will volunteer at least 6 million hours, resulting in a minimum $70 million economic impact in our communities.
- Healthier Generation: By 2018, Club youth will participate in 4 billion hours of physical activity, and Clubs will serve more than 500 million meals or snacks to young people in need.
Galvanizing the Nation in Support of Kids
“We’re issuing a call to action to the country to join us in changing America’s future by opening the door for kids during out-of-school time,” said Clark. “Through the Campaign, we’re convening public, private and nonprofit partners to address the crisis this generation is facing and drive an impact agenda to ensure success is within reach for every child. We are grateful to the many legacy partners and philanthropists who have stepped up early to support the Campaign with transformational commitments that will fuel this critical work. Together, we are creating more great futures for kids.”
Founding Great Futures Partners who have joined the Campaign for the launch with historic commitments include: The Coca-Cola Company; Deerbrook Charitable Trust; Disney; Taco Bell Foundation for Teens; Toyota; The Wallace Foundation; WellPoint Foundation; Robert W. Woodruff Foundation; and University of Phoenix.
Several philanthropists and business leaders have also joined the Campaign, including Founding Great Futures Philanthropists Colette and Larry Young, President and CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Club alum,as well as Timothy (Timbaland) and Monique Mosley and their Always Believing Foundation. Today, the Mosleys are issuing a #GreatFutures $1 Million Match Challenge to inspire the public and their peers in the entertainment, corporate and philanthropic communities, to take action and support Boys & Girls Clubs.
Premier Media Partners Comcast & NBC Universal and Disney have joined the campaign, alongside 20 additional media partners, to provide extensive in-kind support, including donated media, talent and other resources.
“Through the Great Futures Campaign, we are raising awareness of the critical issues facing kids today, and issuing a call to action to support Clubs in their service to millions of youth every year,” said Clark. “Please visit GreatFutures.org to find a Club in your community and to support the campaign. Every one of us can make a real, tangible difference for kids and start them on a path to a great future.”
For more information about the Great Futures Campaign and our supporters, visit greatfutures.org or #GreatFutures.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.