College Bound

College Bound

The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is to prepare young people, through enrichment opportunities and supportive relationships, to be responsible, caring, and productive community members. The Club fulfills its mission by providing out-of-school-time care and programming in three core areas of youth development: Academic Success; Good Character and Leadership; and Healthy Lifestyles (including sports, fitness and recreation). The Club requests support from the Round Hill Community Church to help us mentor the youth in our care through ongoing programs that teach Good Character and Leadership while also providing much needed academic support in the form of college guidance.

Who We Serve
The Club served 1,651 members between the ages of 6 and 19 in 2017. In the fall 2018, the Club is serving an average of 359 children per day in the hours after school. Members must be residents of Greenwich or have parents who work in Greenwich. There is great ethnic and racial diversity within our membership: 42% of our members were Caucasian and 58% were African American, Asian, Hispanic or multiracial. Knowing that many of our members are low income, the Club charges a small fee of $50 to be a member. That membership entitles youth to participate in almost every program offered by the Club from September – June for no additional cost. Members who attend the Club 52 days a year or more are especially likely to be from low-income families (76% live at low-income levels as defined by HUD and 55% are eligible for free or reduced-cost public school lunch). 42% of those members come from single-parent households.

The Need
Many of our members are not able to experience the “college process” like many of their more affluent peers. While Greenwich High School has a very good college counseling program that walks students along the path to applying to college, what is a significant hurdle for many of our members is that they cannot afford to visit many of the colleges on their college lists. The reasons are numerous. For some, their parents are working multiple jobs and simply do not have the time to take their children on these visits. While others simply do not have the money to travel to colleges (gas, food, and possibly lodging). In a few situations, we have members whose families do not have transportation.

For the past few years, the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich has decided to try and help our members visit and explore various college campuses in the states of Connecticut and New York. While we have not been able to get them to other states, we feel confident that at the very least, these college visits have opened the eyes of many of our members about what life on a college
campus may entail. One young man, who was unsure about whether he would attend college at all told me that when the Club took him to Fairfield University to visit, it was the first time he thought that he could attend a college as well. He is currently a high school student with plans to apply to college this fall! A visit to a college also provides motivation to work hard in school.
Something that is very hard to convey through lectures by counselors or pictures on school’s website.

We are asking Round Hill Community Church to help us continue these college visits. These visits are not a formal part of our operating budget. However, the need for them is undeniable, so we have been using dollars from other teen programming to support the trips. Thus far we have been to schools such as:

Fairfield University Sacred Heart University
Fordham University Trinity College
Quinnipiac University Manhattanville College

Funding from Round Hill will allow us to go on visits during and February Break and Spring Break. Each day trip allows us to take the members to visit two schools. We have only taken one busload of 8 to 12 members in the past. With additional funding, we seek to take two busloads of members. This would allow us to take a few 8th graders as well as high school members. Our goal, simply put, is to put the idea of college in our members’ minds as early as possible and then, during their day-to-day experiences at the Club, we will continue to provide experiences and opportunities along the way until they graduate. Four college visits, eight busloads of members, a lifetime of reaping the benefits of a college education. This is our goal.

We are asking for funding for:
- Four staff members: $700 per outing
- Food for members and staff: $350 per outing
- Transportation costs: $200 per outing
Total Cost: $1,250 per trip x 4 trips=$5,000

Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich staff members serve as role models and mentors for Club youth on a year-round basis. These important one-on-one relationships are part of the foundation of Boys & Girls Clubs. The positive mentoring role that staff members have with Club members is a large part of what makes Club members feel connected to their Club. It’s another reason why so many of our graduating high school seniors refer to the Club as their “home away from home.”