"My neighborhood was a place where some friends made it and some didn't. After school programs at the Club gave me a strong foundation. The experience was like an angel watching over me, always encouraging, always supportive."
These comments from Club alumnus Antoinette Irving reinforce the important role your generosity has made in shaping a young heart, mind and spirit.
In 1920, The Salvation Army arrived in Church Hill with a mission of impacting the community in Christ's name. Soon thereafter, The Salvation Army officer in charge, noting that there were "hoards of lads running wildly about," decided that the burgeoning Church Hill community needed a place where boys could go for play, participation and provision.
Since that time, The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club has served hundreds of thousands of young men and women and watched them mature into productive citizens, local business leaders and community-minded professionals.
Each day, when students are released from school, scores of them make their way to the Club. However, our Boys & Girls Club offers more than a gymnasium for athletic play, a swimming pool for year-round aquatics or a games room for traditional youth-oriented play. You see, the Club's focus is holistic, meeting the recreational, educational and social needs of every individual. There, dedicated, driven staff tutor those experiencing academic challenge, provide aids in building and strengthening character and prepare high school youth for the rigors and discipline of higher academic pursuit.
These intentional strategies align well with the Richmond City Public Schools Strategic Plan.
Qualitative, clearly-identifiable results indicate that youth participating in our After School Program acquire and display positive growth and maturity characteristics that enable them to forge ahead as productive, well-rounded young men and women.
- An average 77% of youth report doing well or great in educational commitment and actions with others and healthy activities they are involved in.
- Of the 82 report cards collected after the March 2011 period, 48% or 40 students made the honor or scholar rolls, including 3 finalists for the Youth of the Year recognition.
The Club youth are our children - and the future lies in their hands and within their hearts.
Your Gift will add Lasting Value to the After School Experience for Our Local Youth - A Tremendous Return on a Worthy Investment!!
T.L.C. IN ACTION:
Jennard is eighteen years old and started in The Salvation Army Boys and Girl Club After School Program at the age of 6.
"I have always been a quite individual. When I walk in here, I feel a family vibe. It gives me energy and enthusiasm. I know I can overcome whatever I have been challenged by during the day."
Jennard is an example of the long term influence the Club can have on positively shaping a young person. He has made healthy choices, is appreciative of his family and city, looks forward to giving back, is a regular honor roll student, has strong faith and has remained humble.
"I am blessed in my role as mentor for the younger members. I help them learn from the same mistakes I made. I feel as though I am making the future better for them."
The After School Power Hour makes a structured, safe environment for homework assistance and other academic enrichment opportunities a priority.
"I have learned the value of education and patience. The college tours have opened my eyes to what I have access to if I take initiative. I am prepared and confident."
Jennard was recognized as the 2011 Youth of the Year. He is evaluating his choices for higher education and wants to pursue a career in Sports Medicine. During the Youth of the Year Celebration he summarized the value of his 12 year involvement.
"The hard work, the time we put in, the people that we meet and the achievements that we go through all help us to become a better person. That is what this evening and this award stand for."
As a senior Administrator in the Henrico County Sherriff's Office, Antoinette recognizes The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club After School Program as a "turning point" in her life.
"My neighborhood was a place where there were problems. I was a kid that grew up in a family where there was substance abuse and domestic violence, then my father died when I was a freshman. The Club gave me a different outlook about how things could be."
As a hard working student and accomplished basketball player, she found the After School Program to be a place where there were strong mentors committed to helping her grow and holding her accountable for staying on track. They ensured she would gain confidence in pursuing higher education despite the obstacles she encountered. As she excelled as a student athlete, Antoinette garnered respect from people throughout Church Hill. She witnessed the success of other individuals from the area as they interacted with the After School Program.
"My neighborhood was a place where some friends made it and some didn't. I was able to realize the contrast. The Club was a pillar of stability that gave me a strong foundation. The experience was like an angel watching over me, always encouraging, always supportive."
Antoinette received various awards during her tenure as a member, went on to secure a scholarship to a major university, completed a master's degree in administration and is pursuing a doctorate in criminal justice.
"Many of the individuals whose lives were changed through Club programs visit and provide guidance to our young people. You see, first we are the recipients, then we are the instruments that give back."