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Research shows that the biggest single predictor of a child’s future success is the presence in their life of at least one non-parent adult. Kids who have positive adult relationships are more motivated to learn and do better in school. They have a better sense of themselves and their future. They accept and take responsibility for themselves and others. They are more resilient and less likely to engage in risky behavior. Every day, through proven successful programs and meaningful relationships with staff and volunteers, 1,700 Club kids are generating amazing results for our community.


A few key facts
•  In spite of high school dropout rates for Latino and African American students, 100% of Club members graduate from high school on time.
•  Club members had a 15% higher overall GPA than their peers, and 87% fewer absences. More important, they have greater expectations for their futures.
•  Texas spends $99,000+ per year for each child in juvenile detention. The Club spends just $500 on programs and services that are proven deterrents to juvenile crime. Club kids see firsthand the value of attending school and avoiding drugs and gangs, and are able to picture themselves as successful, caring and productive adults.


Responding to challenges facing Austin youth
What is the most influential time in a child’s life? It is between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., every afternoon, after school. Thousands of kids throughout our community lack adult supervision and meaningful, positive things to do between the time they leave school and the time their parents come home. In fact, the most common time for youth to engage in sexual intercourse is between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Boys & Girls Clubs are open during these 5 critical hours, offering a fun and productive environment to enjoy after school and all day during summer and school holidays. Nationally, 60% of Alumni said the Club was the only place to go in their neighborhood after school and 90% said the Club was one of the best things available to them in their community. 1

Academic success

We believe that every child should graduate high school on time, college or career-ready with the skills they need to succeed in today’s globally competitive workforce. Clubs partner with youth, parents, schools and other community stakeholders to implement three approaches: academic enrichment and school engagement; targeted dropout prevention; and intensive intervention and case management.

The average high school dropout rate in America is 33%. For Latino and African American males, that rate is closer to 50%. In Travis County, almost 33% of all public high school students – and nearly 50% of African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students– fail to graduate from public high school with their class. Graduation rates for Caucasians and Asians hover around 75 to 77 percent, respectively, with about one-quarter of these students failing to graduate.2

In-depth research conducted over a 10-year period by the Harvard Family Research Project suggests that sustained participation in well-structured programs and activities, often provided by out-of-school time nonprofits, help youth attain the knowledge and array of skills necessary for success in the 21st century. However, only 30% of school-aged children in Travis County have access to out of school programs – the most critical times of their lives.

Further, research shows youth participating in quality after-school programs have better academic performance, behavior and school attendance and greater expectations for the future.3   In one study, BGCA youth had substantially higher grade point averages in various subjects and a 15% higher overall GPA. They also had 87% fewer absences and showed an 81% increase in homework completion. 90% of BGCA alumni graduate from high school and 26% are likely to earn a college degree, the same as the U.S. general population.


Character and Good Citizenship

We believe that developing America’s next generation of world changers starts today. Our country’s future depends on responsible, engaged citizens and innovative, resilient leaders! Helping youth acquire skills for participating in the democratic process is the main thrust of these programs. They also develop leadership skills and provide opportunities for planning, decision-making, contributing to Club and community and celebrating our national heritage.

Due to the effects of social isolation, crime, violence and drugs, kids living in areas of concentrated poverty perform worse than their peers living in more affluent areas. Of the estimated 251,189 children in Travis County, 45,214 (18%) are living at or below the federal poverty line ($10,830 for an individual; $22,050 for a family of four.)4

In Austin and Travis County, it is obvious that an annual income of $22,050 for a household of four is nowhere near sufficient for parents to provide the same opportunities to their children as those families living above the poverty line. As they grow older, these kids are often left behind because of their lack of access to enrichment activities during the summer and after school.5

Moreover, kids living in poverty are associated with poorer health, higher rates of learning disabilities, lower literacy and math performance, and higher likelihood of dropping out of high school. Nationally, 62% of Club Alumni said they became more committed to their education, 80% reported the Club had a positive impact on their health and fitness and 84% said the Club helped improved their outlook or attitude.6


Healthy Lifestyles

We believe healthy minds need the support of healthy bodies. A future generation of active citizens begins by building healthy habits in our kids. Club programs help develop daily fitness, nutrition education, a positive use of leisure time, reduction of stress, understanding of healthy relationships, appreciation for the environment and social and interpersonal skills.

According to the Center for Disease Control, Texas ranks number 3 in the nation for teenage pregnancies behind Mississippi and New Mexico. Travis County is ranked number one in America for (first and second) teen pregnancies. A recent study has found that youth who do not spend time in extracurricular activities after school are 37% more likely to become teen parents than are youth who spend time in afterschool programs. In Austin, 55% of BGCAA members are between 13 and 18 years old and engaged in interactive Club activities like SMART Moves, SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood -- all nationally recognized prevention programs which help young people resist alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as premature sexual activity.

 

Challenges unique to middle school youth
The transition from elementary to middle school is a challenging time for kids. It is a time when they begin to make important life-choices on their own. During middle school years, kids go through dramatic physical, emotional and cognitive changes; transitions that translate into new potentials as well as risks. Sadly, middle school students are often left out – they are often too young for traditional youth development programs, and too old for school-age care. BGCAA is aware of this growing gap in services to this special group of kids, and, at the request of the Austin Independent School District, has responded by expanding its after-school programs to middle schools and high schools located in Austin’s most economically distressed areas – the East and South regions.

 

Challenges unique to teens
Mental health professionals agree that teenagers have their own virtual universes, which are free from adult supervision at a time when threats to their health and well-being have never been greater. The list of factors to blame is long and obvious: easy access to drugs and alcohol (many of which parents are taking legally); easy access to sex (either in real life, through cable TV or internet porn); as well as more familiar pressures such as divorce, rampant materialism, ever-increasing academic demands, and the omnipresent glorification of violence. Kids are bombarded with it on television, at the movies, in video games, in music, and on the Internet. Street culture has married technology, and the result is a nightmare for parents and a siren song for kids.


The difficulties of being a teenager have not changed, but society has – leaving kids drawn to more dangerous activities. To make matters worse, everything happens at breakneck speed, making rational thought and reflection nearly impossible. Boys & Girls Clubs are uniquely positioned to address these challenges on a daily basis - and with great success. Nationally, 86% of Club Alumni say the Boys & Girls Club helped teach them right from wrong. 67% said the Club helped them avoid difficulty with the law.


1 Living Proof: The Harris Survey of Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni
2 The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts, Civic Enterprises in association with Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Bridgeland; DiIulio, Jr.; and Morison, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, March 2006
3 Harvard Graduate School of Education
4 Travis County Health and Human Services
5 Enson, P.L. & Saito, R.N. (2000). The Scientific Foundation of Youth Development.
6 Living Proof: Harris Survey of Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni
7 Swartz, Mimi, The Gangstas of Godwin Park, Texas Monthly, June 2006.


Our mission is to inspire
and enable all young
people, especially those
who need us most, to
realize their full potential
as productive, responsible
and caring citizens.