Due to the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club has had to make adjustments to its services. Since the beginning of quarantine, they have provided meals and outdoor “community hubs” for students.
BGCP has had to constantly adapt their academic support to meet the kids needs while ensuring safety by limiting the number of students in “community hubs.” Michael Jones, unit director of the Boys & Girls Club in Redwood City, says that although there are some changes such as how they do academic support and dinner service, The BGCP team always puts the students first to ensure safety and support.
In these “community hubs” students can learn in a safe environment that improves feelings of social isolation. The “community hubs,” also provide students with free Wifi, meals and additional academic support. For students who struggle with curriculum, BGCP has teachers on campus to provide the necessary support.
The BGCP team strives to aid three needs: socialization as well as academic and mental health support. For academic and mental health support the organization provides teachers and counselors on site and virtually. In order to maintain student socialization, the program hosts trivia, dance-a-thons and is hoping to organize an outdoor movie night for quarantine pods.
Although the BGCP team hosts fun events, Jones wishes more people would understand how much pressure BGCP students have on them to support their families during this pandemic. A lot of these students “feel the pressure to ensure that there is food in the house, avoid eviction and watch over their siblings.” They want to accede their families’ expectations because they hope to support their families the best they can.
In addition to the meal distribution days, Jones says that the best way high school students can help is to provide innovative ideas. The BGCP club team is open to student perspectives.
Jones says his staff is very special because they are passionate people. They want to provide opportunities for the kids they are working with because they “see their reflection in the students they work with.” They have a passion to help others because someone gave them opportunities. Ultimately, Jones says “to have the type of passion to always put the kids first is so powerful. The culture and energy of our staff members is astounding and that’s why this is not a job for staff members, it’s a lifestyle.”