Few things are more important than giving kids the resources they need to succeed in school. Students are back to school and eager to learn, but they face unprecedented challenges this year. After schools were forced to close their doors early this past spring, an extended summer, and the re-opening of schools this fall under so much uncertainty, many youth are struggling to maintain the academic progress they made last year.
“Our Clubs understand the challenges schools have with kids losing some of their learning during the summer,” said Director of Operations Rosemarie Joiner. “We have programs like Summer Brain Gain to help combat this. What none of us anticipated was schools closing so early this past spring and a long summer. Then, with the start of the school year with many schools turning toward virtual learning, our Clubs knew we had to partner with schools more than ever and be very intentional about helping kids remain on academic track.”
When Clubs opened for the fall school-year program with a limited capacity of youth served, they transformed into mini-classrooms, offering working parents a safe learning environment for their children.
Hearing of such efforts and knowing kids need resources to succeed this school-year, an anonymous donor offered Boys & Girls Clubs a $100,000 matching gift – thus creating the Return2Learn Matching Gift Challenge. Beginning at noon on September 14 through noon September 30, Greater Northwest Indiana residents and corporations have the opportunity to double their impact by making a gift in support of Club programming this fall and secure an additional $100,000 dollar-for-dollar match for the organization.
“Our community really came together in support of our kids the past couple years during a fun event called the Art Van Charity Challenge. This support allowed us to continue providing valuable services to Club members. When Art Van closed their stores and discontinued the challenge, we had an anonymous donor step forward to help us create a $100,000 matching challenge for our Clubs,” President & CEO Ryan Smiley said. “Even though things are a little different this year, we have an exciting opportunity to raise $200,000 in support of our Club members, and we hope people in the community know how critical their support is to our kids’ academic success and are willing to donate to help us reach our goal.”
All funds raised will go toward Boys & Girls Clubs’ academic assistance programs, which provide parents of Club members enrolled in virtual learning at school with a safe place to send their children during the school day. In Clubs throughout Northwest Indiana, members are able to login to their schools’ online platforms, participate in virtual instruction, and receive help from trained Boys & Girls Clubs staff. Smiley said the organization’s goal is partnering with local schools to ensure students have the resources they need to complete their school work and thrive academically.
Interested donors can find more information about the campaign and donate, doubling their impact, by visiting bgcgreaternwi.org/return2learn.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter and Lake County youth for over 60 years. Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. Annual membership is only $40.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 764-2582 or visiting bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.