boys and girls club

A Look at the History of Boys and Girls Clubs of America

The roots of Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) can be traced back over 150 years to when three civic-minded Connecticut women organized the first club to help boys in need to get off the streets. From its humble beginnings, BGCA has become a well-respected national organization with a presence in communities across the country, as well as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and military bases worldwide. Keep reading for a closer look at the history and evolution of BGCA.

 

Early History – Club Beginnings

boysandgirlsclubIn 1860, sisters Mary and Alice Goodwin joined Elizabeth Hammersley in founding the first club that would form the basis of BGCA. Known as The Dashaway Club, it began casually when the women invited a group of boys roaming the streets into their Hartford, Connecticut, homes for refreshments and recreation. The Dashaway Club soon expanded its home-based locations, leading the founders to rent a meeting hall to hold activities for club participants.

Two decades after its founding, The Dashaway Club underwent a reorganization led by another prominent Hartford woman, Mary Stuart Hall. Hall, who was Connecticut’s first female lawyer, renamed the club The Good Will Boys Club and directed its focus on proving that misbehaved street children could develop into productive members of society if given the right support and guidance. She specifically used her background in law to teach the boys and young men societal rules and expectations. Hall worked closely with the club for nearly five decades until her death in 1927.

 

Clubs Spread across the Country

By the time Hall began the reorganization of The Dashaway Club, similar organizations had already been established in cities outside of Hartford. One of the first of these was a club in New Haven that formed in the early 1870s. Led by John C. Collins, the club was based on a system of supportive guidance that is still a large part of the BGCA environment. Collins went on to develop a network of clubs throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Another early club, and one of the first to use “Boys’ Club” in its name, was The Boys’ Club of New York. The organization was founded in 1876 on the East Side of Manhattan by railroad magnate E.H. Harriman. As it grew in popularity, the club had to move to a five-story building to accommodate the large number of members. Soon, these early boys’ clubs in New York and New England were joined by similar organizations in other parts of the country. By the early 20th century, over three dozen clubs were operating in cities such as Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Nashville, and San Francisco.

 

Becoming a National Organization

The growing number of boys’ clubs in the United States led a group of early club leaders to join forces as part of a national movement. Their work led to the founding of the Federated Boys’ Clubs in 1906. The 53 clubs that comprised the federated union were the original members of a national organization that would be renamed Boys’ Clubs Federation in 1915 and Boys’ Clubs of America in 1931.

Over the next few decades, the Boys’ Clubs movement continued to spread across the country. By the early 1970s, the United States was home to 1,000 Clubs serving 1 million children. In 1980, the organization dropped the apostrophe from its name to become Boys Clubs of America. However, this name was short-lived.

Starting in the 1950s, Clubs nationwide had also started welcoming many female participants, a fact that wasn’t reflected in the “Boys’ Club” moniker. To recognize that girls were a welcome part of the organization, its leaders launched an effort to change its name in the late 1980s. In September 1990, the national organization’s name was officially changed to Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

 

Boys and Girls Clubs Today

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, membership in Boys and Girls Clubs of America continued to grow. By the time BGCA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006, approximately 2,000 local Clubs were helping over 2.5 million children and teens. Today, BGCA membership sits at over 4.7 million youth at more than 4,600 Club facilities.

In recent years, BGCA has focused on expanding the reach and scope of its programs. There are now over 1,000 Clubs in rural areas and nearly 500 BGCA-affiliated youth facilities on military installations around the globe. Additionally, there are more than 300 Clubs in public housing areas and nearly 200 Clubs on native lands.

From the earliest days of the organization, the programming at BGCA has sought to build good character and leadership while promoting healthy lifestyles and academic success. While the focus remains the same today, the group’s Academic Success Programs have changed somewhat in recent years to emphasize 21st-century skills. Members across all Clubs now take part in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities via programs such as Computer Science Pathway, DIY STEM, and Tech Girls Rock.

This type of programming now plays a key role in ensuring that BGCA can fulfill its mission and vision in order to help young people reach their full potential and find success as responsible, caring, and productive citizens. More information about BGCA’s history and its current programs is available at www.bgca.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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weight-lifting health

Raising Awareness Year-Round at the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe global team behind the American Heart Association (AHA) works each day of the year to improve the health of people worldwide. As part of these efforts, the organization oversees a variety of events and initiatives focused on health- and/or fitness-related themes. At AHA, nearly every month is dedicated to raising the public’s awareness of the ways they can stay safe and healthy.

Here’s an overview of several AHA months and events:

 

February – American Heart Month

A federally designated event, American Heart Month has been observed every year since 1964. The goal of American Heart Month is to bring awareness to the issue of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. In recent years, American Heart Month has placed special focus on raising awareness of heart disease among women, even naming February 1 as National Wear Red Day.

 

March – Nutrition Month

Many of AHA’s themed months and events are focused on providing people with the tools and knowledge they need to lead healthier lives. During Nutrition Month, the organization offers tips and resources to help people make smart food choices that can benefit their heart and their health overall. Some of the resources highlighted during Nutrition Month include the AHA’s Healthy for Good initiative, which seeks to inspire healthy changes through good nutrition and exercise.

 

April – Move More Month

Like Nutrition Month in March, April’s Move More Month is part of the AHA’s mission to encourage people to improve their lives by striving for good health. According to the AHA, nearly half of all adults in the United States do not get enough physical activity to stay healthy. During Move More Month, the organization offers tips for exercise success and works to raise awareness of programs such as Kids Heart Challenge and the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge, both of which are aimed at increasing physical activity among the nation’s youth.

 

May – American Stroke Month and High Blood Pressure Education Month

At the AHA, May is focused on preventing and raising awareness of strokes and educating the public about high blood pressure, one of the main stroke risk factors. In partnership with the American Stroke Association, the AHA has assembled several tips to achieve ideal health and avoid hypertension/stroke-related problems. Tips include eating a well-balanced diet, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and being physically active.

 

June – CPR and Summer Safety Month

In addition to helping people improve their health, the AHA serves as the nation’s global leader in providing CPR training and emergency cardiovascular care training. Throughout June, the organization highlights this work and raises awareness about the importance of knowing CPR. The AHA also takes time during the month to offer summer safety tips for people of all ages.

 

July – Quality Improvement and Summer Heart Health Month

While staying active in warm weather is important, it can also lead to heat-related illnesses that are often preventable. The AHA uses what is typically the hottest month of the year to help people avoid issues such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. The Association’s leadership also uses the month of July to focus on its quality of care initiatives aimed at improving health care nationwide.

 

August – Heart Walk

Each August, over 1 million people in more than 300 cities across the country take part in the AHA Heart Walk, the organization’s largest fundraising event. Along with raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the Heart Walk gives people the opportunity to celebrate survivors of heart disease and stroke while literally taking steps to boost their own health.

 

September – World Heart Day and Other Awareness Events

September is a very busy month at the AHA. On September 29, the organization partners with the World Heart Federation in observing World Heart Day, which focuses on inspiring people around the globe to take control of their heart health. September is also devoted to raising awareness of peripheral artery disease, childhood obesity, atrial fibrillation, and cholesterol. All of these issues fit into the AHA’s broader goal of improving health worldwide.

 

October – World Stroke Day, World Thrombosis Day, and Diversity & Health Equity

October is another busy month at the AHA. One of the main events of the month is World Stroke Day, which is held on October 29. More than 7 million Americans are stroke survivors, and World Stroke Day aims to reduce this number in the future by helping people learn how to minimize their risk. The AHA also uses October to promote health equity and observe World Thrombosis Day, an annual event held on October 13.

 

November – Research and Eat Smart Month

Over the last seven decades, the AHA has spent over $4 billion on cardiovascular and stroke research. November is when the group highlights its past research while raising awareness of future research priorities. November is also Eat Smart Month, a time when the AHA educates the public about healthy eating habits. This education includes advice such as swapping traditional Thanksgiving fare for healthier options.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

Here Are the Latest Headlines Out of Goodwill’s Newsroom

Goodwill

Featured Image by Mike Mozart | Flickr

Goodwill Industries’ online newsroom is the place to find all of the latest info about the nonprofit’s efforts to improve lives through education and employment-focused programs and activities. Recently, Goodwill has been hard at work on the national and local levels ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to find and maintain quality jobs.

Here’s more information about these and other activities from the Maryland-based nonprofit:

Goodwill, White House Promote Second-Chance Job Training Programs

Goodwill organizations throughout the country help challenged individuals reach their full potential through the power of work. The variety of individuals served by local Goodwill stores includes those reentering their communities after spending time incarcerated. Recently, Goodwill representatives joined key partners at the White House to promote reentry-specific support programs for people benefitting from the First Step Act.

Passed with bipartisan support in late 2018, the First Step Act is helping hundreds of people gain early release from the nation’s federal prisons. In addition to easing sentences at the federal level, the piece of criminal justice reform legislation aims to reduce recidivism by connecting second-chance individuals with educational, vocational, and rehabilitative programs before and after their prison release.

For its part, Goodwill Industries is helping to support the efforts behind the First Step Act by providing these individuals with access to occupational skills training, apprenticeships, post-secondary education, job-specific credentials, and employment opportunities. Today, over 100,000 people turn to Goodwill Industries annually for services that help them get a fair shot at a second chance after incarceration.

The success of local Goodwill’s reentry services is evident in the fact that less than 5 percent of the second-chance individuals they serve return to prison within the first year of release. Goodwill organizations are achieving these impressive numbers with the support of US Department of Labor reentry grants. Currently, Goodwill Industries is advocating for additional funding for the First Step Act and similar legislation via its advocacy Action Center.

Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator Wins Halo Award

During the 2019 Engage for Good Conference in Chicago, Goodwill Industries and Google.org were recognized with a Halo Award for their work partnering on the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. Now in its 17th year, the Halo Awards recognize and honor outstanding businesses and nonprofits for various social impact initiatives. Goodwill and Google received the Silver Halo Award in the Employee Engagement Category (Skilled Volunteering).

Launched in 2017, the Career Accelerator helps people who are older, veterans, people with disabilities, and other challenged employee groups develop the digital skills needed to excel in the modern workplace. To date, over 275,000 people have benefitted from the initiative, which is supported by a $10.3 million grant from Google.

The Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator also relies on the hard work of hundreds of Google volunteers and Goodwill team members. For their part, Google volunteers provide train-the-trainer services to Goodwill organizations and career coaching services for program participants. The volunteers also oversee digital skills training sessions throughout the year. The 2019 Silver Halo Award is a reflection of the efforts that Google and Goodwill employees are putting toward making the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator a success.

New COO Joins Goodwill’s Executive Team

After welcoming Steven C. Preston as its new president and CEO in early 2019, Goodwill Industries International now has a new chief operating officer (COO) in charge of its legal, finance, human resources, and technology departments. David Eagles began his tenure as the organization’s new COO in mid-May. He will now focus his attention on supporting Goodwill organization’s nationwide in their efforts to help individuals and families improve their lives.

Prior to joining Goodwill, Eagles gained experience leading organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. His past roles include serving as COO at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and working in executive operating positions for several Fortune 500 companies. He launched his career after earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Alabama and Harvard University, respectively.

At Goodwill Industries, Eagles will take a lead role in helping the organization explore new markets and innovative ideas to expand its network and advance its mission. He will also work to ensure that Goodwill maintains its reputation as one of the world’s most inspiring nonprofit organizations.

Indeed Partners with Goodwill on Inclusive Hiring Initiative

In a May 2019 press release, Goodwill Industries announced the launch of a new five-year initiative with Indeed, the world’s top online resource for job seekers. On Indeed, users can search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies in over 60 countries. Each month, over 250 million people use the site’s services.

As part of its new initiative with Goodwill, Indeed has made a commitment to help 1 million people facing barriers to employment find work. The company will work to fulfill its commitment by connecting people with various job seeker resources. Throughout 2019 and beyond, Indeed and Goodwill will partner with local employers to host hiring events at Goodwill locations across the country.

The two organizations will also work together to train people on how to post an online resume and search for jobs using the Indeed platform. Other areas of focus will include skill-based assessments, which job seekers can use to demonstrate their hirable skills. Goodwill and Indeed will use the remainder of 2019 to pilot and refine these and other activities in select cities before expanding the program nationwide.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.