Here Are the Top Arts and Recreation Programs at BGCA

boysandgirlsclubBoys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has been working for more than a century to help the nation’s youth reach their full potential. The Club experience focuses heavily on education and academic success. The organization also oversees a number of initiatives that inspire creativity, build confidence, and encourage members to live healthy and active lives.

Currently, BGCA conducts a wide range of arts-based programming that explores numerous disciplines. At Boys and Girls Clubs across the country, members of all ages also engage in a variety of sports and recreation programs.

Keep reading for a closer look at how BGCA is promoting physical fitness and providing an outlet for self-expression.


Using the Arts to Give Kids a Voice

With the support of its national partners, BGCA inspires Club youth to pursue interests ranging from photography to hip-hop. The group’s top three programs in the area of art education are:


  1. ImageMakers and the National Photography Program

Supported by Sony Electronics, ImageMakers helps young people develop the skills needed to take impactful photos and express themselves through visual storytelling. The initiative is part of BGCA’s National Photography Program, which has been teaching youth about the art and science of photography for more than 50 years.

A major component of ImageMakers is the National Photography Contest. Open to Club members ages 6 to 18, the contest invites participants to capture photos in several categories, including culture and tradition, portraits, and fashion.

Those who win competitions at the local and regional levels go on to compete nationally for a chance to win Sony camera equipment and have their photos exhibited online. Each year, the winners’ artwork can be viewed at

photography pictures


  1. Lyricism 101

Rooted in the music of hip-hop culture, Lyricism 101 gives Club teens the opportunity to express their ideas in lyrical form. With support from Sprite and Coca-Cola, BGCA first launched Lyricism 101 in 2016. Since then, it has spread to Club locations nationwide.

Although activities vary from Club to Club, the main components of the program include workshops on the history of hip-hop and the art of freestyling. Lyricism 101 also includes competitions that help teens build self-confidence while showcasing their lyrical talents.


  1. DramaMatters Afterschool

Another way BGCA helps youth build self-confidence is through DramaMatters Afterschool. In addition to teaching Club members ages 6 to 18 about acting, the weekly drama education program features hands-on lessons. Topics include costumes, set design, and directing.

Each session is designed to be adaptable for all ages and ability levels. DramaMatters Afterschool is made possible with support from TNT.


Creating Healthier Youth through Sports and Recreation

In addition to overseeing a comprehensive health and wellness program called Triple Play, BGCA promotes positive health outcomes by engaging Club youth in various sports and recreation programs. The organization’s top programs in this area include:



Over the past two decades, Major League Baseball (MLB) has partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs on various initiatives impacting the nation’s youth. One of the most recent of these initiatives is PLAY BALL. The program teaches kids of all ages the fundamentals of baseball and softball.

PLAY BALL also highlights the many ways that these sports can be played. Along with traditional games, the program engages participants in other fun activities. These include catch, stickball, WIFFLE ball, and skills competitions. Club members who participate in PLAY BALL also have the opportunity to meet professional baseball players and take part in special MLB events.


  1. RBI and Jr. RBI

Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is another MLB-sponsored initiative. It focuses specifically on encouraging youth in underserved communities to participate in baseball and softball.

Boys and Girls Clubs across the country oversee RBI leagues comprising boys’ baseball and girls’ fast-pitch softball teams. In addition to playing competitively in league games, members of RBI teams have the opportunity to take part in baseball clinics, regional tournaments, and the national RBI World Series.

Alongside the main RBI program for boys and girls ages 13 to 18, BGCA offers Jr. RBI for youth 12 and under. With three divisions of play, the program introduces age-appropriate rules while teaching baseball and softball fundamentals. All three divisions of Jr. RBI also emphasize safety. This ensures that young players have fun without injuring their developing bodies.




Club youth interested in sports other than baseball can take part in BGCA’s ALL STARS program, which focuses on basketball, soccer, and flag football. Each year, ALL STARS provides tens of thousands of youth ages 6 to 18 with the opportunity to enjoy physical activity and social interaction. In 2017 alone, the program reached over 170,000 Club members.

ALL STARS is made possible with support from Buffalo Wild Wings and its Team Up for Kids initiative. The national restaurant chain has supported the program for several years. It has committed to donating more than $10 million by 2020 to expand and improve sports programming at Boys and Girls Clubs across the country.


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.


heart health

You Need to Know about These 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number-one cause of death among men and women in the United States, killing an average of 610,000 people and causing 735,000 heart attacks each year. As such, it’s crucial that Americans adopt various preventative measures to reduce their risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has outlined the following actions individuals of all ages can undertake in order to maintain a healthy heart and prolong their life:


  1. Maintain an Active Lifestyle.


A lack of regular exercise contributes to the death of an estimated 250,000 Americans per year, therefore it’s important to engage in some form of physical activity every day. You don’t have to be lifting weights in the gym or running miles outdoors either. The AHA recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Although playing a sport or taking up running are great ways to ensure you get the required amount of exercise, you can reduce your risk of heart disease simply by starting a walking program or riding a bicycle.

While it’s helpful to start being physically active from a young age to establish a habit, it’s never too late to being exercising regularly. A study published in the journal Circulation found that it can take as few as six years for middle-age people to experience a 23 percent reduction in risk of heart failure after increasing their physical activity to AHA-recommended levels. Study participants who said they met the recommended physical activity levels experienced a 31 percent decrease in potential for heart risk failure, whereas those who reported a decrease in physical activity experienced an 18 percent increase in heart failure risk.


  1. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet.

In addition to influencing your weight, the food you eat can affect your chances of experiencing heart disease. The AHA suggests adopting a healthy eating plan as early in life as possible and, while it recommends eating a high volume of fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to become a vegetarian. Instead, try eating lean cuts when you do eat meat, and consume at least one meatless meal per week. “Going meatless is as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a starring role,” notes Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont nutrition professor. “You should also seek out high-fiber whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods. These tend to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other important phytonutrients.”

If cutting back on meat sounds like too tall an order, consider eating more skinless chicken and omega-3-rich fish instead of pork and beef. You should also limit your portion size to six ounces and remove all visible fat.


  1. Don’t Smoke.


Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart health and one of the most preventable causes of early death in the United States. In addition to putting you at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), which can lead to a stroke or coronary heart disease, it has a negative impact on other risk factors. For instance, smoking regularly can decrease your HDL (good) cholesterol as well as your tolerance for physical activity. Moreover, if you already have a family history of heart disease, smoking can exacerbate your risk level. Even being around someone who smokes can increase your risk of heart disease; a US Surgeon General report found that the risk of lung cancer or heart disease for nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work rises by as much as 30 percent.


  1. Manage Stress Levels.

You can avoid smoking, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, but you’ll still be at risk of heart disease if you allow stress to control your life. A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that work-related pressure is associated with a 48 percent increased risk of atrial fibrillation, which can lead to dementia, stroke, or heart failure, and manifests through symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, palpitations, or dizziness. “People who feel stressed at work and have palpitations or other symptoms of atrial fibrillation should see their doctor and speak to their employer about improving the situation at work,” says Eleonor Fransson, one of the authors of the study.

If you’re unwilling or unable to find a more suitable job or work environment, there are several things you can do outside of work to reduce your stress level. In addition to the following the aforementioned three recommendations, consider cutting back on coffee consumption or making a habit to perform relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or even deep breathing. Getting enough sleep is also an excellent way to lower your risk of heart disease and, in that regard, the AHA suggests aiming for between seven and eight hours per night.


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.

Red Sox Minor League Affiliate Wins League Championship

Greenville Drive pic

Greenville Drive

A Williams College double major bachelor’s degree recipient, Erol Onel completed his doctor of medicine degree in 1992 at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and has since accumulated nearly 20 years in urology-based research. When he isn’t working, Erol Onel enjoys following his favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) team, the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox only had one minor league affiliate advance to the playoffs in 2017, but that team made the most of the opportunity. The Greenville Drive, Boston’s Class-A affiliate, finished its regular season with a franchise-record 79 wins and continued that success into the playoffs as it won its first ever Southern Atlantic Championship. The team previously lost in the league finals in 2009 and 2010, but defeated the Kannapolis Intimidators 8-3 in game four of the best-of-five series to secure the 2017 championship.

More than 50 players dressed for the drive throughout the season, including numerous high-potential prospects who could one day star for the Red Sox. One of the major contributors in the playoffs was second baseman Brett Netzer, a 2017 MLB amateur draft third-round pick who recorded a .429 batting average and eight runs batted in (RBI) in 28 post-season at-bats. Bobby Dalbec, meanwhile, recorded one RBI in the series-clinching game as well as a three-run home run in the previous round. He finished the season with 13 home runs and a .246 batting average in 78 games.

The Boston Red Sox Franchise Homerun Leaders

Ted Williams pic

Ted Williams

Drawing on over 17 years of experience in the medical field with specialized training in urology, Dr. Erol Onel serves as vice president of Heron Therapeutics, where he provides scientific leadership to its pain management division. Outside of his professional obligations, Dr. Erol Onel is an avid fan of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Boston Red Sox.

A storied franchise that has won eight world championships, the Red Sox boast an impressive alumni group. Ten players have hit over 200 homeruns while playing for the team. The top three Red Sox homerun leaders are:

1. Ted Williams – A two-time MVP and 19-time All Star, Williams hit 521 homeruns in 2,292 games for the Red Sox. He also leads the franchise in runs batted in (RBI) with 1,839.

2. David Ortiz – A native of the Dominican Republic, Ortiz played six seasons with the Minnesota Twins before joining the Red Sox in 2003. In 14 seasons with the team, “Big Papi,” as he is affectionately referred to among fans, hit 483 homeruns and recorded 1,530 RBI. He was named World Series MVP in 2013.

3. Carl Yastrzemski – An 18-time All Star and seven-time Gold Glove recipient, Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year career with the Red Sox. The New York native retired in 1983 with 452 homeruns and 1,844 RBI in 3,308 games.