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Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County launches Great Futures Campaign to advocate for kids during out-of-school time; Nationwide movement redefines the opportunity equation for kids by elevating need for increased access to after-school and summer programs

FORT MYERS, Fla. (July 31, 2014) – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County today announced the launch of the Great Futures Campaign to mobilize the community in support of kids and empower today’s youth to achieve great futures.

The local Club is joining Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide to redefine the opportunity equation for kids by elevating the critical role out-of-school time plays in a child’s development. Through the Great Futures Campaign, the organization seeks to ensure that every child and teen has access to a safe place after school and during the summer where they can build the knowledge, skills and behaviors to put them on the path for success.

Every day, 15 million (one out of three) kids nationwide leave school with no place to go, putting them at risk of being unsupervised, unguided and unsafe. During the summer, an alarming 43 million (three out of four) kids in America lack access to summer-learning programs, increasing their risk of learning loss and putting them at a disadvantage before the new school year starts. The way a child spends their time after school and during the summer can significantly impact the path they take.

“When the nation prepares to go back to school this fall, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County wants to ensure out-of-school time is part of the conversation,” said Shannon Lane, chief professional officer of the BGCLC. “We’re taking a leadership role with the Great Futures Campaign to elevate the impact of out-of-school time, a critical, yet often overlooked, part of a student’s day. When school is out, no child should go unsafe or unguided. Through the campaign, we are advocating on behalf of kids and convening public, private and nonprofit partners around our goal of ensuring all kids have access to a safe, engaging and productive place to go between school and home.”

A response to the crises facing America’s kids, the campaign is focused on reversing the most negative trends 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.
  • Three out of 10 kids are obese or overweight.
  • One in five American kids live in poverty.

Nationally, the issues have economic implications, costing as much as $209 billion in lost taxes and higher government expenditures during the lifetimes of those who fail to graduate. Healthcare costs to treat health issues related to childhood obesity are $14.1 billion annually, and states spend an average of $7.1 million a day locking youth up in juvenile justice facilities.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County has been serving the community with afterschool and summer programs for 40 years,” added Lane. “During that time, we’ve seen the positive impact that occurs when young people have access to a safe place with caring adult mentors and enriching programs during out-of-school time. We want today’s generation to be successful in school and in adulthood, to be healthy and active, and to develop strong character skills they need to become future leaders for our country.”

According to the Lee County School District, almost 30 percent of our youth will not graduate on time. Fortunately, 99 percent of Boys & Girls Clubs members will graduate on time, with our local members’ average GPA being higher than a 3.0.

“My daughter has maintained the A and B honor roll and has earned several awards since she has been a member of the club in Lehigh Acres,” said Dana Bailey. “The Boys & Girls Clubs truly stands behind its motto, ‘A positive place for kids.’”

Boys & Girls Clubs reach kids most in need with outcome-driven programs designed to increase their performance in the areas of education, health and character development. Research shows that when kids attend the Club more frequently, the impact grows, so Clubs create a fun and engaging environment that keeps kids coming back. Goals for the campaign include:

  • Increase membership and access to Clubs for kids who need a safe place to go after school and during the summer
  • Ensure successful transitions to middle and high school, and foster college- or career-readiness with 21st century skills
  • Motivate kids to be healthy through nutrition and health education, create better access to healthy foods, avoid risky behaviors and encourage a lifelong commitment to fitness
  • Engage youth in taking action in their community and the world, promote resilience, build character strength and develop the next generation of America’s leaders

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County is asking the public to help the organization reach more kids and put them on the path to a great future. For more information about the Great Futures Campaign, visit www.BGCLC.net.

Celebrating 40 years of providing quality youth programs and brighter futures for young people in the Lee County community, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County works to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The BGCLC strives to provide a safe, world-class Club experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through its doors. The organization envisions all of its members graduating high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character, citizenship while adapting a healthy lifestyle.

The area’s five Clubs are located in communities with the greatest need where similar services are limited or nonexistent. Membership dues are $10 per school year so that all children can have access to its programs. The BGCLC relies upon the philanthropic support of individuals, corporations and foundations in order to sustain and grow its services.

For more information about the BGCLC, call 239-334-1886 or visit www.BGCLC.net.

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 four 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 Clubs saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.

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