To help kids get a jump start on life skills early, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana is offering its members to participate in its fine arts and nutrition programs. From learning how to sew to knowing how to eat healthy, these programs consist of unique projects aimed at teaching kids quality skills guaranteed to benefit them both now and as adults.
“We have these really unique programs, and we are so much more than just a three to seven place to go. We have amazing programs that kids will take with them forever,” said Stephanie Letic, director of marketing for the Clubs.
Through the fine arts program, the Clubs are able to provide the kids with different amenities that allow them to try new things while also expressing their creativity. A sewing machine was recently added to the Best Buy Tech Center in Gary, giving kids the opportunity to make their own clothes or other fun designs.
“We provided a lot of different opportunities for kids, and they decided what they wanted to do. They really took a liking to the sewing machine and ran with it,” Letic said. “We have a new sewing machine where kids have made a lot of fashion items. One kid made a vest, and he submitted it to our fine arts program for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He designed it and made it as a mannequin. He made it to fit himself, so he measured everything.”
The Clubs also host a six-week nutrition class at all locations through a partnership with Purdue Extension. The class, which runs at two Clubs at a time, consists of two parts, the first focusing on cooking and meal preparation.
“They learn things such as how many sugars are in a Gatorade and what the healthier drinks are and things like that. They learn about nutrition and look into healthy alternatives,” Letic said. “They also learn to cook simple meals that they can do on their own. They've made smoothies, trail mix, snacks; they’re taught basic cooking things that they could do at home on their own.”
The second part then takes a look at the other side of the coin when it comes to being healthy and focuses on fitness and physical exercise.
“They also do 30 minutes of just some simple exercises that they can do without a weight room or body weights. It's things like sit-ups and crunches and push-ups, and they're taught the proper forms so that they don't injure themselves, so it's a whole rounded program between the cooking, the nutrition, and the physical exercise,” Letic said.
With each program, the kids will gain new skills that they can easily take with them through their entire lives.
“I think both of these programs are just teaching basic life skills,” Letic said. “I think everybody one day is going to learn to cook something for themselves. They're going to need to have that proper nutrition in their life, and by teaching them this, they’ll have those basic skills that they take with them forever. With the sewing machine, for example, it’ll be nice for the kids to know how to use it because you’ll eventually find a hole in your clothes. It’s basic things like that for these kids to carry on throughout their entire lives.”
Letic said the classes, programs, and activities are free for all Club members and welcome any member interested to sign up. To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, visit its website at bgcgreaternwi.org.