To the Editor:
Bravo to the staff of the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich! Their daily contributions and support of the children of Greenwich continue to make the Boys and Girls Club a gift to the families and children of our community. Here are just five examples of the work the staff does to enrich the lives of our children.
Program Opportunities for all Children: In addition to the many athletic programs offered at the Club, there is a wonderful Education Center on the 2nd floor of the Club. Students have the opportunity to learn computer skills and improve and practice their artistic talents. In addition, there is a Homework Club that meets after school where over 100 children complete their homework each day with the help of staff and volunteers. Other educational program are offered or created and recently a Financial Champions Pilot Program now offers a six week course in helping children learn about finances and managing personal finances.
Reading Champions Program: I have been the volunteer Site Liaison for the Reading Champions Program of the United Way at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich since the program began at the Club eight years ago. In that position, I have had the privilege of working with and watching the staff’s enthusiasm and dedication to the Club and to the over 300 children who attend the Club daily. The staff is an amazing group! They care about the children and are always willing to help children learn, respect each other and follow the high behavioral and educational expectations the Club sets for all children. In our eight years at the Club several hundred children have worked with the RC Tutors of the United Way and have improved their reading skills and academic confidence. The education staff at the Club created a wonderful teaching area for the program and works hard to contact families about the program. The staff schedules all tutorials, reminds students of their tutorial day/ time and communicates with the schools and the families about the students’ progress. Their work and dedication has helped this program grow each year. In 2010 we began with four tutors and eight students. Today, we have 18 tutors who work with 44 students.
Cos Cob School’s Emergency Closure: When Cos Cob School was forced to close because of a water main break, the administration and staff of the Club opened its doors early and invited families to send their children to the Club during the school day. The staff not only provided a safe place for children but offered many activities to all children. Over a hundred children attended the Club daily during the week when Cos Cob School was closed and these children participated in the Club’s many activities until their classes re-opened.
Snow Emergency: Last week many school buses filled with children were stranded because of the surprise severity of the road conditions. The police were concerned about the safety of the children and immediately turned to the Boys and Girls Club for assistance. With the help of the police and the staff of the Club many children were escorted to the Club where they were welcomed by the staff that stayed late to provide a safe place for these children. In addition to providing fun activities for these children, the staff also prepared hot meals for all. Pizza was ordered and several of the staff members set up a cooking station where they made and served pancakes to all children. The staff stayed with the children until every child had appropriate and safe transportation to their homes.
Positive Role Models and Mentors: The staff members of the Boys and Girls Club are committed to mentoring the Club’s young members. Children often model the behaviors they see and the Club’s staff always demonstrates good sportsmanship, positive competition, respect for others, and the importance of education. They set high expectations and goals for each child and then work to help children meet these goals.
These are just five examples of how the Boys and Girls Club works to improve the lives of so many of the children in our community. I am constantly impressed by the creativity of the staff and their willingness to listen to ideas and then plan programs that are beneficial to our children. The atmosphere in the Club is always positive and children are respected at all times. Lessons are learned, positive respect for others is expected and a commitment to work for higher personal, athletic and academic goals is always encouraged.
Bravo to the Boys and Girls Club, a wonderful gift to the Greenwich community. And very sincere and well earned Bravo to all the staff members who have created such a positive and supportive culture.
Joan Lowe, MSW
Retired teacher, counselor, social worker, GPS