• emilydewaard

Calling all volunteers for the Brookings Boys & Girls Club

Character and leadership, a healthy lifestyle, and academic success are the pillars of United Way agency, the Boys & Girls Club. The Club positively impacts the lives of local youth every day by offering a safe, constructive place for kids in preschool through teens to go after school and in the summer.

A facility that can take up to 400 kids per day requires a reliable staff and consistent volunteers for them to be able to count on and look up to every day. The staff acts as guides and positive influences for youth in the community.

Jane Doe, Boys & Girls Club program director said, “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.”

Doe considers the reliability of the Club the most impactful for children and parents.

“We have a social environment they can count on that’s safe and consistent. Some kids don’t have a lot to count on when they get out of school. [It’s] a place that you can trust your kids will be safe and happy.”

The Boys & Girls Club provides local youth the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of academic and social activities. From lacrosse and basketball club, to Mythbusters club and LEGO robotics, they can learn in many unique and fun ways that inspire a passion for education.

The Club offers a variety of academic success programs, such as Club 5, a teacher-recommended program to aid students in staying on top of schoolwork and within their grade level. Additionally, 30 minutes each day is designated to working on homework or an academic activity. These homework sessions are intended to hold the kids responsible for their own work while guiding them through it.

Currently, The Boys & Girls Club is working on getting their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) program off the ground. The goal of the program is to introduce kids to math, science, and engineering in an educationally engaging manner. Daktronics’ local presence can make the greatest difference in this area.

Doe believes that Daktronics’ prominence and local involvement could show youth that studying and working in STEM fields is an attainable goal. Doe said involvement from Daktronics employees working in these fields would be exciting and impactful for the youth at the Boys & Girls Club.

The Club doesn’t solely focus on education, however. Their goal is to guide kids in realizing their full potential. The Club also teaches the importance of philanthropy and community involvement. For example, this summer the kids spent some time with residents at Brookview Manor, a senior living community.

Additionally, the Club actively educates about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The kids learn about healthy living habits, nutrition, engage in activities in the gym, and learn about the effects of smoking and other drugs.

Yet with all that the kids learn each day, they still have plenty of time to play and socialize freely. Weaver coined it an “unstructured structure”. They can count on the consistent schedule each day: snack time, 30 minutes of free choice, 30 minutes of homework, then more free choice time.

During free choice, kids choose which structured activities to participate in. For example, there’s an art room, as well as, a social recreation area where they can play a variety of floor and board games.

The Boys & Girls Club primary goal is providing a place kids want to go where they know they will be safe, they can learn, and play and socialize.

“We don’t want to just be a place for the kids that need to be here, we [also] want to be a place for kids that want to be here. We are an organization that is genuinely trying to improve the lives, future, and outlook of kids in the community.”

The Club is particularly searching for people from places like Daktronics to fuel the success of their STEAM program. Daktronics employee John Doe has already taken the first step and he, as well as the Club, hopes others will follow.

Volunteering schedules are entirely flexible. During the school year, the facility operates from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. In the summer, they are open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Supper is included during the school year.


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