The December Orion Gives Back focus is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.
They’re the non-profit that provides after school services for children in need, right?
Yes, but they do so much more!
Many Powell, VP of Development & External Affairs here gives us a closer look at their reach and impact on Memphis, and shares ways you can lend them a helping hand.
What’s your favorite story about the difference BGCM has made in the life of a young person?
One of my favorite success stories is about an 8-year-old named Audrey who attends our Buckman Club. Audrey has never met a stranger. The moment a visitor walks into the Club she is the first person to greet them with her bubbly personality. However she has overcome tremendous challenges in her life: she lost her father at a young age and began struggling in school; she feared she wouldn’t be able to transition from the second grade. She began participating daily in our Power Hour Program, which provides homework and tutoring assistance, and her grades began to improve along with her reading skills and general attitude toward school. The first day I met her she shared with me that she came to the Buckman Club with F’s and C’s but because of all of the help she received she had raised them all up to A’s and B’s. She now is one of the top students in her grade!
BGCM has served Memphis for over 51 years – what accomplishment is the organization most proud of?
I believe it is a strong testament to our programming that we have been in Memphis for so long and are still generating outstanding outcomes such as a 100% graduation rate for our senior members. Our outcomes basically speak for themselves and show that our programs work!
I think one of BGCM’s biggest accomplishments is having pioneered a program in workforce development. It addresses one of the biggest issues facing Memphis – a lack of an available and reliable workforce. The Boys & Girls Clubs Juice Plus+ Technical Training Center (TCC) is a premier 24,000 square foot facility that helps train and place hardworking teens in part-time jobs and graduates in productive careers. Our TTC was the first of its kind in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and offers training in fast-growing career fields – Culinary, Logistics, Automotive, Welding, and IT. We have visitors from across the country visit the TTC to tour and learn more about our workforce development programs.
What is something about BGCM that most people don’t know?
I think most Memphians are aware of the BGCM name but are unaware of everything the Clubs actually provide. We of course offer a safe place for kids to go after school to hang out or play basketball – we have a lot of fun, but we do so much more than just that. Our services fill in for resources that are critically lacking in many of our youth’s lives. We provide a healthy meal each day and programs that fit into our three core values of academic success, good character & citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. Our staff hold our members to a very high standard and are key to motivating them to dream beyond the zip code they call home.
Your organization has done so much to help make Memphis a better place. What would enable you to do even more?
Similar to a majority of non-profits everything boils down to funding. Our annual membership fee is only $10 per child and no child is ever turned away, though our services cost $1,000 per child per year. In 2016 we will have served over 4,200 members but as we all know, there are tens of thousands of youth in Memphis. No gift is too large or too small to make a difference in their lives and provide them with the path to a great future.
To learn more visit http://www.bgcm.org/.