- Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (or BGCA) is a national organization whose mission is to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.
Headquarters are located in
Atlanta, with regional offices in Chicago, Dallas, New York Cityand Los Angeles.
The group holds a
congressional charterunder Title 36 of the United States Code.
The first Club was founded in 1860 by several women in
Hartford, Connecticut, who believed that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative. It was for boys only, and soon other communities in New England decided that such places would be good for their young men.
The first Boys & Girls Club to have a building was in Fall River, Massachusetts. It is currently located at 803 Bedford St.
In 1906, 53 independent Boys' Clubs, as they were known then, came together in Boston to form a national organization, the Federated Boys' Clubs, and in 1931 they became Boys Clubs of America. In 1956, the group was chartered by Congress.
To reflect its increased service to young women, the organization became Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1990. In 1996, Roxanne Spillett, current president of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, was appointed to head the organization.
2006 marked the national organization's centennial; 4,000 Club professionals, local board volunteers and national staff celebrated this anniversary.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America has more than 4,000 autonomous local Clubs which are affiliates of the national organization. Clubs serve some 4.8 million young people – generally between the ages of 6 and 18 – through membership and community outreach, and are located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and on U.S. military bases in America and around the world. Professional Club staff total some 49,000 worldwide.
Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denzel_washington] , a former Club member, has been the spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 1993. 
In its latest "Philanthropy 400" report, "The Chronicle of Philanthropy" ranked Boys & Girls Clubs of America number one among youth organizations for the 13th consecutive year, and number 12 among all nonprofit organizations.
Commitment to Youth
BGCA’s commitment to growth and quality is based on concern for deserving youth as well as the national interest – soon these boys and girls will become the mainstay of America’s economy. By aiding their development, all of society benefits.
Among the children in greatest need are those living in America’s public housing developments. In 1986, fewer than 40 Clubs operated in public housing. Today, there are more than 400 Boys & Girls Clubs located in public housing. This number grows steadily, thanks to effective collaboration between Clubs, schools, housing authorities, government agencies and private funding sources.
BGCA continues to break new ground, reaching out to at-risk youth in non-traditional ways. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs work with young people in schools, homeless shelters, shopping malls and on military bases and Native American lands.
While America’s youth face many difficult challenges, Boys & Girls Clubs continue their 148-year tradition of offering proven solutions that work. Clubs have provided millions of girls and boys with daily, guidance-oriented character development programs, firmly establishing a nationwide reputation as “The Positive Place for Kids.
Every Local Club
Every Local Boys & Girls Club
* is a private, non-profit agency with policy set by a volunteer board of local residents;
* is managed by a full-time executive director, assisted by full-time career professionals, part-time assistants and program volunteers;
* is a professionally-staffed, fully-equipped facility offering daily programs promoting the health, social, educational, vocational and character development of youth ages 6-18; and
* makes a positive impact on young lives by building self-esteem and encouraging the development of values and skills during critical periods of childhood growth.
Programs Boys & Girls Clubs Offer
CHARACTER AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENTPrograms in this Core Program Area empower youth to support and influence their Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image and good character, participate in the democratic process, and respect their own and others’ cultural identities.
EDUCATION AND CAREER DEVELOPMENTPrograms in this core area enable youth to become proficient in basic educational disciplines, set goals, explore careers, prepare for employment and embrace technology to achieve success in a career.
HEALTH AND LIFE SKILLSPrograms in this core area develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, set personal goals and live successfully as self-sufficient adults.
THE ARTSPrograms in this core area enable youth to develop their creativity and cultural awareness through knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts, crafts, performing arts and creative writing.
SPORTS, FITNESS AND RECREATIONPrograms in this core area develop fitness, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment and social skills.
:11% under 7
:1% over 18
:3% Native American
* [http://www.bgca.org Boys & Girls Clubs of America Web site]
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