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Partner Spotlight: Boys & Girls Club

January 21st, 2016

The Coalition sat down with Sage Learn, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to discuss the relationship between community schools the service provided by BGCA to young people. In addition, learn more about their upcoming National Day of Advocacy, and how it reflects the results of the recently signed Every Student Succeeds Act.

1. Can you explain the overall mission of BGCA? 

To create great futures for America’s youth.  Assure success is within reach of every child who enters our doors, with members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship and living a healthy lifestyle. 

2. What milestones has BGCA already reached or is currently moving towards?

Boys & Girls Clubs annually serve nearly 4 million young people, through membership and community outreach, in more than 4,100 Club facilities throughout the country and BGCA affiliated youth centers on U.S. military instillations worldwide.

3. How do BGCA principles tie into the Community School’s principles and philosophy? 

Boys & Girls Clubs share the community schools principles and philosophy in that we believe partnerships create flourishing communities where everyone belongs, works together, and thrives.  Partnerships with schools and Clubs are important to this and in particular to the 30% of Clubs that are co-located in schools.  Clubs are community-based and provide a safe, affordable place for youth during the out-of-school time (after school and summer) and are led by paid, trained youth development professionals. 

4. What are some exciting things coming up for the BGCA (i.e., other events, publications)?

In 2016, we have our National Day of Advocacy, which takes place from March 15-16, 2016. We also have our National Youth of the Year Celebration on September, 26th, 2016. We are very excited for these two events, because the will not only be an opportunity to share our message in regards to policy and advocacy, but also share the great work that BGCA is doing across the country. 

5. Finally, what do you like about your job?

I take pride in working to promote legislation and policies that support and expand opportunities for young people to succeed in all aspects of life.  Club kids are the future leaders of tomorrow and I believe we need to make sure all youth get the support and resources they need to thrive and have a great future. 

BGCA was thrilled to see the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act and applaud Senator Alexander and Senator Murray among others for their tireless efforts to get this legislation passed.  Programs like the Full Service Community Schools Program and 21st Century Community Learning Centers will provide so many youth with additional education and resources they need to succeed in school and life.
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