I think it is timely that I am writing my first blog on the same day as the Glen Cove High School Commencement. Although I am not looking forward to sitting outside in this scorching heat, I am extremely excited to see the Class of 2012 receive their diplomas as a symbol of their hard work and dedication to their academic studies over the past 4 years at Glen Cove High School.
I will be cheering extra loud for the many seniors who are graduating who are also members of the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club. We the staff, board of directors, volunteers and fellow Club members are so proud of the young people that have walked through our doors and have participated in our programs that are now graduating and moving on to either college, the work force, trade school or the military.
According to Editorial Projects in Education, “Diplomas Count 2010: Graduation by the Numbers: Putting Data to Work for Student Success” Education Week, 29, No. 34 (2010), 3 out of 10 young people won't graduate on time. Our kids are in crisis. That is why at the Boys & Girls Club we take academic success, on-time grade progression, and high school graduation as a priority.
We offer Power Hour, a homework help and tutorial program for all members. Club members are afforded a conducive environment to receive assistance with their assignments, access to technology to conduct research and complete projects, all with the help from our dedicated staff and volunteers. We also focus on college exploration through our summer College Teen Tour, thanks to funding from Taco Bell's Graduation to Go Foundation.
We also invest in our young people's education by awarding the Louis M. Sanford College scholarship to a graduating senior that is heavily involved in Club programs. This year's recipient is Yadiyah Letellier, who will be starting at Monroe College in the fall.
Most importantly, we listen. We talk with our kids about their hopes and dreams. We push them to reach for the stars. We inspire our kids to BE GREAT. I know this works because I am a product of the Club. When I was a Club kid someone told me I could be anything I wanted to be. I didn't think at the time that my path would lead me to Boys & Girls Clubs, but this is where I am supposed to be.
That's what we do at the Club - we help our kids find their path. Many have a lot of hurdles to overcome to find it, but when they do they shine.
In the words of our 2011 Youth of the Year, Essence Fowler, "The Boys & Girls Club is a place of opportunity, a place to build character and leadership skills, a place you can call home. The Club helps kids gain a great amount of confidence and shows them if you try your hardest and stay focused, you can do anything you set your mind to.”