THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF DURHAM AND ORANGE COUNTY WHAT IS OUR STORY?
Guest Post from Marywinne Sherwood, Board member
Oh, dear reader! What a magnificent story I have to tell you!
This Club began in Durham in 1937 and served only boys, then! Girls were added as late a 1984!
But we are all together and strong, now!
The Chapel Hill Club merged with the Durham Club in 2016, becoming the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties, and together we are growing as fast as we can to serve more and more kids.
Here is our mission statement: to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to achieve their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
What stands out to me is the word “citizens.” Our youth not only become successful adults, they give back to their communities, vote and help their communities grow and serve all its citizens.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham have fine programs for youth but a segment of our young people cannot afford them, even on scholarship. Did you know that 600 families in Orange County and many more in Durham live on less than $15,000/year? More than a third of school children are enrolled in free or reduced lunch programs? The Boys & Girls Clubs fill the gap for this part of our towns' populations. For $10 a year, (and scholarships are available), all school age-children can be members of the Club. At last, Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham serve all our children, regardless of income, with excellent after school programming.
But the most exciting and unique and amazing thing I want to tell you about is that 57% of adults who have gone through Boys & Girls Clubs say it saved their lives. And they mean, literally!! They could see that they would have ended up in gangs, in jail or even dead if they had not found the Boys & Girls Club!
Even our own CEO, Mr. Jerome Levisy, tells a similar story and credits his experience as a youth in a Boys & Girls Club with saving his own life. What a privilege it is to belong to an orgnization that has such power for good results as that!
You may wonder, how do we get such results? Here is how:
We provide school age children with a professionally supervised, consistent environment every day after school and summers, from 1st grade through graduation from high school. where they are safe, equally accepted and able to participate in goal and outcome oriented programs.
Our goal is to instill a sense of competence, a sense of belonging and a sense of having power and influence, especially over their own lives as well as in the commuity. We focus on three areas-
1. academic success (they do their homework first!),
2. good character and leadership development and
3. healthy life style, including healthy decision making and good food and exercise or activity every day.
While all programming is geared to these goals, the kids have fun, too, because we want to be sure that they want to come back each day!
Our youth graduate from High School in greater numbers than their peers, benefit from awareness about healthy living and from discovering their talents, abilities, develop their dreams of what they want to do with their lives and who they want to become. In other words, Boys & Girls Club kids bloom!
With your support, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties are able to save so many lives. We thank you for caring and for donating your time and treasure to kids who wouldn't have a chance without you. You mean so much!