In 2014, Bryant’s summer break was cooking up to be a boring one. Growing up in a poverty-stricken community where parents have to work hard to simply make ends meet, there are few structured outlets for kids to turn to amidst the school-less void. Bryant, who remained largely unguided during the summer days, lacked mental stimulation until his parents finally found the Johnson Boys & Girls Club.
During his first summer at the Club, Bryant emerged from his introverted bubble to find confidence in socializing, playing sports, taking on leadership roles, and much more. What began as a quick fix to cure the summer lull quickly turned into a place of year-round comfort. Now, 15-year-old Bryant has been a Club member for three years and attests much of his personal self-growth to the support and inspiration that he has received from staff members.
Recent reports found in the Kids Count data report, compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, have ranked Colorado in the bottom 10th percentile for national high school graduation rates. With the average cost of living in Colorado consuming a third of total income, parents often are left with scarce amounts to invest in extracurricular activities after all basic need expenses are met. In the summer, the lack of affordable youth programming can lead to summer learning loss and set kids – often those growing up in low-income households – on a trajectory to fall behind in school year after year.
Combating summer learning loss at an affordable rate, the staff members at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver work tirelessly all year-round to provide outlets for kids and families who need us most. This summer, three of our Clubs (Godsman, Force, and Johnson Boys & Girls Clubs) are combining forces to deliver a seven-week comprehensive summer camp to more than 300 youth. At the low membership cost of only $2, Club members have access to the following:
During the summer months kids, namely those growing up in low-income households, are at risk of losing up to three months of reading and math computational skills and falling behind. With few affordable summer youth programming outlets, too many kids spend their summer days with nowhere and no one to turn to while their parents are working.
Helping to fill the desperate need for affordable, engaging and educational summer programming, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver (BGCMD) provides summer programming from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During this time, we aim to provide Club members with access to ample entertaining and educational opportunities to help kids continue to make academic gains. Examples of summer opportunities include:
This month, we are excited to celebrate Ardent Mills as an outstanding corporate partner! As we head into summer and gear up for the start of Gates Camp, we couldn’t be more thankful for the support of Ardent Mills, whose investment in our camp enables us to continue to provide this opportunity to over 500 campers each year. In addition, Ardent Mills nourishes our Boys & Girls Clubs community by helping to fund part of our Healthy Lifestyles programming, helping to teach Club members how to make smart nutritional, mental, emotional, and physical decisions.
Their generosity does not stop there. Groups of enthusiastic volunteers visited several of our Clubs last month to prepare our gardens for spring, teach our kids how to make pizza, and participate in an active and fun kickball competition! Ardent Mills team’s commitment to our youth is critical to providing our Club members with these exciting and new experiences. To celebrate our partnership and the youth we serve together, Ardent Mills also sponsors our annual gala.
We are proud to recognize Ardent Mills as our exceptional Corporate Partner of the Month and are grateful for their dedication to building a meaningful, multifaceted partnership that enhances the quality of life and health of our community!
Club members Josiahyia and Aaron with the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons.
Last month we proudly celebrated our Club members (140 in total) that will be graduating from high school this year. Both CJ Manning (a BGCMD Alumni and now current Associate Board Member) and Justin Simmons (a safety for the Denver Broncos) joined Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Erin Porteous in recognizing our teens over dinner and games at Dave & Busters. This special celebration was sponsored by the Taco Bell Foundation.
Amongst those celebrated, both Aaron (from Johnson Boys & Girls Club) and Josiahyia (from Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club) were honored as this year’s winners of the Outstanding Graduate Award.