children

Boys and Girls Clubs Get a Big Boost from Holiday Support

boysandgirlsclubTo continue its important work as a youth-focused nonprofit organization, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) depends on volunteer support and financial contributions from businesses and individual donors. BGCA collects donations throughout the year, but the holiday season is an important period in its annual fundraising efforts.

Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many corporations invite their customers to embrace the spirit of the season by supporting fundraising campaigns benefiting Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide. Read on to learn about 2018 holiday fundraising campaigns and find out more about what you can do to support BGCA all year long.

 

A Look at BGCA’s 2018 Holiday Partners

A number of large corporations, including Coca-Cola, Disney, and UPS, have provided BCGA with millions of dollars through ongoing partnerships with the organization. These and other companies often increase their support during the holiday season to ensure that Clubs have the resources needed to operate in the upcoming year.

Here’s a quick look BGCA’s 2018 holiday partners and their fundraising efforts:

Buffalo Wild Wings – Buffalo Wild Wings, the largest sports bar brand in the US, directs its fundraising efforts toward Boys and Girls Clubs’ ALL STARS team sports program, which engages youth in football, basketball, soccer, cheer, step, and other activities. Through its 2018 holiday fundraiser, the national restaurant chain is pledging to donate $1 to the ALL STARS program for every bottle of its signature sauces and dry seasonings sold in its US locations. With the addition of other fundraising events, the goal is to raise at least $22 million.

The Coca-Cola Company – Coca-Cola has been supporting BGCA programs and activities for more than seven decades. During the 2018 holiday season, the company is partnering with Family Dollar on a campaign to give Boys and Girls Clubs 15 percent of the proceeds (up to $1 million) from all eligible purchases of Coke products sold in Family Dollar stores. The campaign represents the culmination of a yearlong partnership between Coca-Cola and Family Dollar.

Family Dollar – In addition to its partnership with Coca-Cola, Family Dollar is selling special gift bags designed by Club members, the net proceeds of which will benefit Boys and Girls Clubs. The national chain of discount stores also sells holiday-themed gift cards to support its seasonal donation to BGCA programs.

Forever 21 – Known for offering trendy clothing at affordable prices, Forever 21 is putting the “fun” in fundraising by giving Boys and Girls Clubs $1 every time a customer makes a purchase from its Ugly Sweater Collection. As part of the holiday campaign, the fashion retailer has promised BGCA up to $100,000.

Neiman Marcus – Through its Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation, Neiman Marcus supports youth arts education programs across the United States. During the holiday season, the American chain of luxury department stores promotes its partnership with BGCA via its exclusive Christmas Book as well as in-store and online advertising.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company – With 13 amusement parks across the country, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company is known for offering family-oriented fun. As part of its commitment to kids and families, Cedar Fair is supporting BGCA through its 2018 Winterfest events. Winterfest guests have the opportunity to make a $5 donation when purchasing tickets for the event online. Cedar Fair is also providing coin collection boxes at Winterfest to raise additional money for BGCA during the holiday season.

 

What You Can Do to Support Boys and Girls Clubs Year-Round

In addition to participating in annual fundraisers and holiday giving programs, you can invest in America’s youth by supporting BGCA in a number of ways. Whether you’re looking to volunteer your time or give financially, here are some options to consider.

One-Time and Recurring Donations – Boys and Girls Clubs makes it easy to donate at any time through its secure online giving portal. With any major credit card, you can make a one-time gift or set up a monthly donation of any amount. BGCA also gives you the option of dedicating your gift to a friend or family member.

Planned Giving and Donations of Assets – If you’d like to make a lasting impact on America’s youth, you can make BGCA a beneficiary of your estate through the organization’s planned giving program. Gift options include cash, appreciated securities, real estate, insurance, and retirement assets. BGCA also accepts one-time charitable gifts of common stocks and mutual fund shares.

Online Fundraisers – You don’t have to wait until the holiday season to participate in a BGCA fundraiser. In fact, you can start your own fundraising campaign via online platforms such as CrowdRise. Special events like birthdays and weddings are the perfect time to spread the love and raise money for Club youth. If you’re participating in a community walk or race, consider turning the event into a BGCA fundraiser.

Volunteer – Local Clubs across the country rely on caring volunteers to assist with daily activities. As a Club volunteer, you can help with homework, oversee sports events, conduct an art project, or simply provide guidance to local youth. More information about volunteer opportunities in your area 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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Spotlight on the Latest News from Wounded Warrior Project

wounded warrior projectAs Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) celebrates 15 years of service, the veteran-focused organization continues to provide a variety of programs designed to enhance the lives of former and current military members and their families. In addition to improving veterans’ physical and mental well-being, WWP helps them to gain independence through social activities and career-development initiatives. The organization also oversees a variety of programs to serve the spouses, caregivers, and other loved ones who support the nation’s military members. Here is a look at recent WWP news from across the country.

 

Veterans and Supporters Participate in Inaugural Carry Forward Event

In San Diego, veterans and military supporters took part in the first-ever Carry Forward, a unique 5K fitness challenge designed to raise money for WWP programs and activities. During the event, which occurred on October 6, 2018, at Liberty Station NTC Park, participants pushed their physical limits by carrying a flag, weights, or another person while running or walking a 5K course. All participants completed the challenge as individuals or squads of three or more runners.

A total of 706 people and 140 squads participated in the 2018 Carry Forward San Diego. Their support, along with that of virtual participants, raised over $45,000, which was just shy of the event’s $50,000 goal. WWP is also holding 2018 Carry Forward challenges in Nashville and Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Soldier Ride Crosses the United States

Along with Carry Forward, WWP hosts several other fund-raisers and awareness events, including Soldier Ride Across America. Launched in 2003, the Soldier Ride program engages veterans and caregivers in multi-day adaptive-cycling events. The main Soldier Ride events occur in mid-summer, but teams of cyclists recently completed a special Soldier Ride Across America in commemoration of the program’s 15th anniversary.

During the cross-country trek, three teams biked nearly 3,300 miles in just under one month. The first team of cyclists set out from One World Trade Center on September 8, 2018, and traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, where a second team took over and began traveling to Lubbock, Texas. From there, the final team started the last leg, which finished in San Diego on October 7. Each of the 36 men and women who took part in the journey rode approximately 1,000 miles while helping to raise money and awareness for various WWP initiatives, including its job training, adaptive sports, and combat recovery programs.

 

WWP Leads Suicide Prevention Efforts

Since its inception in 2003, WWP has been committed to assisting men and women with mental health issues associated with their military service. As part of these efforts, leaders from the organization recently testified before the House Committee on Veteran Affairs to discuss approaches to meeting the unique challenges that some wounded veterans face after returning from combat.

During the testimony, Mike Richardson, WWP’s vice president of independence services and mental health, discussed how a multi-pronged approach to prevention and treatment can effectively reduce post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. He also described how WWP programs such as Warrior Care Network and Project Odyssey have been successful in assisting wounded veterans. In addition to advising Congress on suicide best practices, WWP recently launched its #ShineTheLight campaign to raise awareness of suicide among veterans.

 

soldier

 

Golfers Raise Money for Warrior Care Network

Each year, the Blue Angels Foundation teams up with WWP to host the Konica Minolta Golf & Tennis Classic with the goal of helping to improve mental health care for wounded veterans. Over the weekend of October 4-7, participants in the 2018 event hit the links at Del Mar Country Club and The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Course in Carlsbad, California. A tennis tournament was also held during the weekend at the Aviara Resort’s tennis facility.

In addition to enjoying golf, tennis, and fun activities, Konica Minolta Golf & Tennis Classic participants helped to support WWP’s Warrior Care Network. The Network is a collaboration between WWP and four academic medical center partners: Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Massachusetts General in Boston, UCLA Health in Los Angeles, and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Since it launched in 2016, the Warrior Care Network has delivered over 92,000 hours of mental health therapy to veterans across the country.

 

WWP Elects New Leadership to Board of Directors

In a September 2018 press release, WWP announced that its volunteer board of directors had elected Dr. Jonathan Woodson and Kathleen Widmer to serve as its new board chair and vice chair, respectively. Both leaders are experienced board members and have a military background. Dr. Woodson is a brigadier general in the US Army Reserves, and Ms. Widmer is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who served for five years in the US Army.

In addition to electing a new chair and vice chair, WWP welcomed two new board members: Lisa Disbrow and Michael Hall. Two other board members, Anthony Odierno and Roger Campbell, departed because they had reached their term limits. WWP’s nine volunteer board members work throughout the year to assist the organization in meeting the various needs of wounded warriors.

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.

Goodwill

Top Ways You Can Support Your Local Goodwill

For over 115 years, Goodwill Industries has been helping individuals and families reach their full potential. The organization does this by investing profits from local Goodwill locations into various programs focused on employment, education, and skills training.

In 2017 alone, Goodwill helped connect over 288,000 people with employment in various industries, including information technology, banking, and healthcare. Additionally, more than 2.1 million people used Goodwill services for career advancement and financial guidance in 2017. Another 30,000 individuals turned to a local Goodwill organization for help in earning credentials such as training certificates and college degrees.

While Goodwill remains committed to its mission to strengthen communities, the nonprofit cannot accomplish its goals alone. The organization receives government grants as well as corporate and foundational support. However, it is most dependent on the donations and assistance it receives from individuals in communities across the country.

If you’re interested in joining those helping to advance Goodwill’s mission, you can do so in a number of ways. Here are some of the things you can do right now to get involved:

Donate Items to a Local Goodwill Organization

One of the easiest ways to support the nonprofit is by donating items that you and your family no longer need to a local Goodwill organization. Goodwill is happy to accept a wide range of items, including toys, clothing, books, home décor, electronics, and furniture.

Goodwill

Image courtesy Mike Mozart | Flickr

Before making your donation, it’s important to inspect the items to ensure that they are in working order and include any necessary parts. Also, while clothing and furniture certainly don’t need to be in perfect condition, items that are free of large rips, holes, and stains will likely do the most good. Goodwill also suggests that would-be donors contact their local organization before donating items such as computers, vehicles, and mattresses to see if there are any rules concerning these types of donations.

To find the nearest Goodwill, donors can visit the organization’s website and use the locator tool at the top of the homepage. Those who are unable to visit a location in person may be able to request a donation pickup. A simple phone call can help you find out if pickup service is available in your area.

Goodwill also maintains donation bins, which are a convenient option for many people. However, the organization recommends that donors inspect bins before dropping off any items to ensure that they are maintained by Goodwill rather than a for-profit group.

Volunteer Your Time or Contribute Financially

If you’re looking to give back to your community, volunteering at a local Goodwill is a great way to do just that. The organization offers opportunities for people to volunteer online or in person.

Professionals can assist people interested in entering their career field by working as a virtual career mentor for GoodProspects. This online community assists jobseekers and those looking to grow in their profession.

Goodwill also oversees a national youth mentoring program, GoodGuides. This program provides guidance and support to help at-risk youth 12 to 17 years of age make positive decisions. GoodGuides welcomes both peer and adult mentors who can devote one hour a week to the program.

Along with volunteering, you can support Goodwill by making a one-time or recurring cash donation online, by phone, or via traditional mail. Goodwill gratefully accepts donations of all sizes and gives donors the option of directing their funds to a local organization or its national programs and activities.

In addition to accepting direct financial contributions, Goodwill oversees a planned giving program for those who would like to include Goodwill in their wills or declare the organization a beneficiary of their retirement plan. More information about the program and how your donations are put to good use is available at www.goodwill.org/give.

Work as a Goodwill Advocate

Through its Advocacy Action Center, Goodwill Industries advances public policy that supports job training and employee placement programs in local communities. Currently, Goodwill is working to promote and advance key human services issues to help older workers, individuals with criminal backgrounds, and veterans overcome barriers to gainful employment. The organization also advocates for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and employment opportunities for young people.

In addition to its activities in the areas of workforce development and job creation, Goodwill Industries works with members of Congress and other key decision makers to protect charitable giving incentives and develop legislation regarding the disposal of electronic waste. Moreover, the organization protects employer priorities as an advocate for the AbilityOne program. AbilityOne provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities or visual impairment.

Those interested in getting involved can join the efforts by registering as an advocate online to receive updates about the organization’s latest advocacy activities. Goodwill advocates can also reach out to their local elected officials and political candidates to share why it’s important to protect opportunities for working families.

Featured Image courtesy Mike Mozart | Flickr

boys and girls club

Here Are the Top Ways BGCA Is Promoting STEM-Based Learning

Attaining success in the modern world requires a new type of skill set that centers on technological literacy and the ability to think critically and collaborate effectively with teams in physical and digital environments. To help young people develop 21st-century skills, schools and youth-driven organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) are promoting a mastery of fundamental academic subjects, such as history and language arts, while emphasizing education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.

In 2014, BGCA hosted STEM Great Think, a national event that brought thought leaders from other nonprofit groups together with key influencers in education, government, and business to establish partnerships and programs for advancing STEM education in the out-of-school environment. Since then, Boys and Girls Clubs has continued to play a key role in inspiring youth, especially those from underserved backgrounds, to pursue an interest in STEM subjects both in and out of school. Read on for a look at what BGCA and its partners have been doing in the area of STEM education.

 

Closing the Opportunity Gap

All of BGCA’s efforts in STEM are focused on ensuring that every child, regardless of race, gender, or economic background, has the opportunity to attain success in an ever-changing world. Recently, the number of jobs in STEM fields has been growing nearly twice as fast as other disciplines. However, many young people are entering the workforce without the knowledge or skills needed to pursue a STEM career. The lack of skills and/or interest in STEM is especially prevalent among minority youth and young women, but kids and teens from low-income families are also affected.

science

By offering after-school and summer educational programming to a large number of underrepresented youth, BGCA plays an important, and often unrecognized, role in closing the opportunity gap in STEM education. Past research has shown that the type of programs offered at Boys and Girls Clubs sparks young peoples’ interest in STEM fields and is particularly impactful for African-American, Asian-American, and Latino youth. According to BGCA’s 2017 National Outcomes Report, male and female 12th-grade Club members of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds are nearly twice as likely to show an interest in STEM fields as 12th graders who are not involved in their local Club.

 

Teaching Kids and Teens to Code

Boys and Girls Clubs across the country rely on corporate support to provide fun and educational STEM programs for their youth members. In 2017, BGCA and Lenovo launched a partnership to get Club members interested in coding and computer science. Through the partnership, 10 Clubs nationwide will expand their STEM programming to include app-building activities for kids and teens.

For its part, Lenovo, a leading technology provider, is offering PC equipment, computer programs, and volunteer support for “Hackathon” events at local Clubs. During the events, youth teams work with Lenovo employee volunteers to create working app prototypes. The teams then present their apps for a chance to win prizes.

The Hackathon partnership with BGCA is an extension of the long-standing relationship that Lenovo has had with local Clubs near its US global headquarters at North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. In addition to the Wake County Boys and Girls Club in Raleigh, Clubs in Georgia, Connecticut, California, and Florida are benefitting from the Lenovo-BGCA partnership.

 

Launching STEM Centers of Innovation

Across the country and in many locations overseas, BGCA serves youth in communities that have a strong military presence. The organization began partnering with the US military nearly three decades ago and now serves over 480,000 school-aged children of military families worldwide. To help BGCA provide high-quality STEM experiences for military youth, Raytheon Company has committed $5 million to create Stem Centers of Innovation at BGCA-affiliated military installations.

To date, Raytheon has created 14 Centers of Innovation as part of its five-year funding initiative. A full-time STEM expert is available to assist youth at all of the Centers, which offer fun STEM-based programming and exciting technologies such as 3-D printers and high-definition video equipment. Centers of Innovation have been opened in Germany and several US states, including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Texas. Thanks to a recent $1 million donation from The Walt Disney Company, BGCA will be able to open 12 new additional STEM Centers of Innovation in communities throughout the nation.

 

Supporting 21st-Century Teaching and Learning

Over the past few years, BGCA has been working toward a goal of engaging at least half of all Club members in some type of STEM-based programming by 2020. Clubs across the country are facilitating these efforts by offering programs such as DIY STEM. Corporations such as Samsung and Time Warner Cable have supported the program, which teaches scientific principles through hands-on activities and learning modules.

BGCA also offers STEM experiences during the summer through its Summer Brain Gain learning loss prevention program. It includes project-based activities for Club youth in elementary through high school. BGCA’s other science-based programs include Tech Girls Rock, a national initiative that supports information technology workshops for tween and teen girls 10 to 18 years old.