America’s kids are in crisis, and troubling trends are evident here in Stanislaus County. Consider these alarming facts:
The consequences of these staggering statistics are felt locally and across our nation. They will cost up to $209 billion in lost taxes and higher government expenditures over the lifetimes of those who fail to graduate high school. Nationally, health care costs to treat issues related to childhood obesity are $14.1 billion annually. States spend an average of $7.1 million a day locking youth up in juvenile justice facilities.
Every day, thousands of children in our community leave school with no place to go. They are unsupervised, unguided and unsafe during these critical after-school hours. Likewise, many have no access to learning opportunities during the summer, increasing their risk of falling behind for the next school year.
How do we reverse these trends?
One way is to recognize the importance of out-of-school time. The out-of-school environment – after school and during the summer – plays an essential, yet often overlooked, role in determining kids’ future. By providing access to positive, productive programs and caring adult mentors after school and during summer vacation, we can help change the future. That is the aim of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and of the new clubs that began programs last summer in Stanislaus County.
In its inaugural year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County:
Two parents became club employees after demonstrating their abilities as volunteers, and they will return to college in the fall to continue their educations. One was selected to receive a four-year scholarship to University of Phoenix through a partnership program with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and of Stanislaus County are asking people to make out-of-school programs a priority and empower the next generation to achieve a great future. Our goal is summarized in what we are calling the Great Futures campaign. The campaign to ensure every child and teen has access to safe, engaging and productive time when out of school starts Thursday.
As our slogan says: “3:00 p.m., when school’s out, clubs are in. Open the door for the kids of Stanislaus County.”