Editor’s note: As part of the News + Record’s commitment to the community, we’re partnering with the United Way of Chatham County to help …
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Editor’s note: As part of the News + Record’s commitment to the community, we’re partnering with the United Way of Chatham County to help provide insight into the work of the agencies the program helps fund with a series of local agency profiles; information is provided by the agencies in conjunction with the United Way. The United Way relies on donations from individuals and businesses to meet the needs of its member agencies. Please consider a generous gift.
Name of United Way Supported Program:
How will Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Carolina/Wren Family Center use United Way donor dollars?
United Way funds will support the Wren Family Center’s Academic Success Power Hour after school program. BGCCC professionals help Club members achieve academic success by providing homework help, tutoring, and other high-yield learning activities to encourage them to become self-directed learners.
Why is this program essential to Chatham County?
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Carolina (BGCCC)’s nationally developed after school and summer programs inspire members ages 6 to 18 to achieve their best mentally, emotionally, physically, and academically while increasing self-esteem, teaching respect, building good character, encouraging smart decisions, and promoting service to the community. At the O.T. Sloan Club in Sanford (Lee County) and the Wren Family Center in Siler City (Chatham County) staff and volunteers help youth achieve academic success with daily Power Hour homework time, tutoring, and other high-yield learning activities. Other enrichment programming includes Triple Play healthy living, Teen programs, and BGC’s Smart Moves substance abuse prevention programs. Youth learn to make wise decisions and accept and respect each person’s value.
Most Wren Family Center after school and summer program participants attend four Siler City schools with exceptionally high needs student populations; 2016-17 NC DPI data indicate economically disadvantaged students comprised 77 percent to 94 percent of school populations for JMHS, CMS, VCES, and SCES. These students have many social challenges that can impede learning and development. Classrooms with so many high needs students are unlikely to offer sufficient opportunities for each child to have enough positive, high- quality interactions with teachers and staff to build their skills, confidence, and character.
In 2017, 48 percent of Wren Family Center members were from low income families with limited access to high quality recreation and enrichment experiences. Most Wren Family Center after school and summer program participants attend four Siler City schools with exceptionally high needs student populations; 2016-17 NC DPI data indicate economically disadvantaged students comprised 77 percent to 94 percent of school populations for JMHS, CMS, VCES, and SCES. These students have many social challenges that can impede learning and development. Classrooms with so many high needs students are unlikely to offer sufficient opportunities for each child to have enough positive, high-quality interactions with teachers and staff to build their skills, confidence, and character. BGCCC Power Hour and other academic support activities fill an important need to help these students stay motivated and on track.
About 25 percent of Wren Family Center Club members lived in single-parent families who may have limited availability or capacity to academically support their children during out of school hours. These families include many with working parents who have limited schedule flexibility and few options for safe, supervised, and affordable after school child care and youth enrichment. BGC Central Carolina’s programs, offered to members for only $52 per year, with scholarships available, fulfill the needs of many Chatham county youth and families who need us most to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
How does the program make a difference in the community?
BGCCC’s Wren Family Center youth development programs address Chatham’s critical needs for affordable and accessible after school and summer activities for children and teens and the related problems of teen pregnancy, school dropout, and gang involvement. The Club offers youth a safe environment that offers adult mentors and nationally developed programs that help youth achieve academically (Power Hour), make smart decisions (Smart Moves), health living (Triple Play, nutrition support), positive community engagement via peer mentoring and volunteer service (Club projects and Torch Club) and enrichment to support goal setting for life career and higher education opportunities (STEM projects, financial literacy, field trips).
Please share a story about a Chatham resident this program helped and the impact it made.
“The Wren Family Center is my favorite place to go after school,” said “G,” a 9th-grade club member. “It’s special to me because the teachers are really nice they help me with my homework. Plus, I get to hang out with my friends.”
G is a 14-year-old girl that loves art and talking on the phone with her friends. Making As and Bs in school doesn’t come easily for G. Prior to joining the BGCCC it was hard for her to find time to complete her homework and study. You see, G also has a younger sibling. Unstable aftercare for her younger sibling meant that G would often become the caretaker of her little sister until their mom gets off work. G would make sure her sister’s homework was finished, that she had been fed, and help her lay out clothes for the next school day. On days like this, G rarely finished her homework. Nor did she have an opportunity to be a “normal teen” like her friends.
The BGCCC has provided a new life for G and her family. Both G and her sister now have transportation to the Wren Family Center each day. They have tutors, mentors, and staff to help them with their homework and academic goals, each day they receive a hot meal before they leave the Club. They have friends to hang with, games to play...G’s favorite is the pool table. Most importantly, their mother can go to work and know that her two daughters are safe and cared for by trained professionals. United Way of Chatham County’s financial support is what makes this possible. “Great Futures Start Here.”