Boys and Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids Serving the Youth of Our Community
By Jodi Harris
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids are doing a fantastic job serving the youth of our community. With five units including Olivet, Polk, South, Taylor, and Hoover, they are right where the kids are, and it allows them to serve more children than in past years with one centralized club. The staff members plan activities, assist with homework, make it a fun and safe place to be, and make sure the kids get a hot meal every day. Volunteers from all professions come to assist with homework and life skills.
Five core program areas are the focus in Club activities, which help kids build self-esteem and life skills.
Education, Career Development & Technology
Character & Leadership
Health & Life Skills
Sports, Recreation & Fitness
Membership is open to any child, ages 5 to 18, and applications are available at www.bgccr.org. Membership is just $12.00 per year, per child and approximately 80% of those fees are paid by the Club because many members are unable to pay.
The Club allows many parents, who otherwise could not afford after-school care, to work without worrying about their kids. They know their children are in a safe environment where they can get help with homework, do fun educational activities, and get a hot meal each weekday. Thanks to the Cedar Rapids School District and the State of Iowa, the Club is able to serve over 50,000 hot meals annually to Club members.
The cost for programming per child for the entire school year is approximately $1,500 and about $350 per child for the summer program. The summer program runs from 8:30 to 5:30 at each site and kids enjoy a safe, open environment, a hot lunch, learning games and fun activities for all ages.
Local donations stay in Cedar Rapids and benefit our kids. United Way and various grants are primary donors followed by corporate donations from companies including Rockwell Collins, Toyota Financial Services, U.S. Cellular, GoDaddy and many more.
Special events such as a Thanksgiving Dinner, is a treat for members, and they can bring their family and enjoy a traditional holiday dinner, which is generously donated by local Hy-Vee stores. Another special activity which is very popular with the kids is Random Acts of Kindness, where the kids are taught that being kind is an important characteristic. They are then given the opportunity to go out into the community and practice Random Acts of Kindness to unsuspecting recipients.
Reasons Why Kids Love the Boys & Girls Club
“What do you like about the Club?” We asked, and the kids gave the following responses;
“I like to play in the gym, and projects like making thank you cards and Valentines for Veterans. I have learned to be nice and respect others too.” Frank
“I like when you do your personal best, you get rewarded with special events like an overnight Lock-In at the Club.” Mariko
“I like art projects, and have learned to respect others. The staff is fair and picks different people to do special tasks at our Club.” Jeanne
“I love to play dodgeball and work on Mobymax to earn points to get awards.” Caritas
“I learned that it is important to help others and follow directions.” Jazall
“I learned that being nice is easier than being mean.” Yashawn
Upcoming Special Events
The “Gala 2017” will be held Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the Cedar Rapids Marriott and prizes may be donated for the event.
The 2nd Annual Chrome for Kids, will be held Saturday, May 20th, 2017, and one lucky person will win a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Location will be announced soon.
The “15th Annual Fish-O-Rama” is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 5th and 6th, 2017 at Robbins Lake, in Cedar Rapids.
The Boys & Girls Clubs are doing great things and are helping youth build stronger futures. Visit a Club near you; call 319.363.5766, or check out their website at www.bgccr.org to learn how you can help! Donations are tax deductible and can be made through the website. Volunteers are always welcome!
*Mobymax is an educational computer program the kids use to learn and earn points towards rewards. Thanks to Sarah Hoeger for information provided for this feature. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids Annual Report was a source for some of the information included in this feature.