Boys & Girls Club recognized for making a difference in the community

Published 9:25 am Friday, November 20, 2015

Contributed Photo   Ginny Wright proudly receives her Faith in the Future Award from Century Link Area Operations Manager Marchelo Maynor (left) and Director of Field Sales Jeff Johnson (right).

Contributed Photo Ginny Wright proudly receives her Faith in the Future Award from Century Link Area Operations Manager Marchelo Maynor (left) and Director of Field Sales Jeff Johnson (right).

The Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club recently received the CenturyLink Faith in the Future award in the Tri-Cities non-profit category for improving opportunities for Carter County youth through effective and engaging after school and summer programs.
“I think what separates us from most is our focus on measurable impact and data driven decision making,” said Executive Director Ginny Wright. “We are definitely in the relationship business but we invest time, energy, and resources to ensure that what we do works.”
Wright said the number one message that they communicate to kids is that they care and want them to succeed.
“All of our programs revolve around reaching three outcomes: academic success, healthy lifestyles and good character and citizenship,” she said.
Last year, they served 672 kids in their after school and summer programs and an additional 200 in sports programs. The organization emphasizes serving “those who need them most,” and that need may be defined by low socio-economic status, residing in state custody, living in kinship care without the involvement of parents, at-risk academically, in need of building social skills, single parent status or both parents working and a need for a quality outside-of-school experience.
It is through relationship building and a variety of programs that the BGC makes its mark on the future of Elizabethton and Carter County children.
In programs, kids get assistance with homework, learn about using technology, practice physical fitness and have opportunities to demonstrate leadership.
“We provide our kids with adult role models and mentors that really go out of their way to show kids that they care,” said Wright.
She said that this is what makes the difference at the club: adults having expectations and giving youth the tools they need to meet those expectations.
Wright said that no other club provides a healthy snack and balanced dinner for all members, and they accept everyone regardless of ability to pay. She said that as need has grown, the club has expanded its hours of operation to accommodate working parents’ schedules and to insure that children are not spending quality after school time alone.
“We believe the most powerful and lasting learning experiences occur in informal learning environments, and we provide staff training on how to engage learners in a way that is fun, interactive, and flexible,” Wright said.
Because of upholding its values in a systematic and forward thinking way, the club has seen a significant increase in membership. It went from serving four city schools to 11 schools within the city and county. Under new leadership and with an energetic strategy, Wright said the club’s after-school membership grew from 30 members in 2013, to 67 members last year and now to 130. In summer attendance, the club grew from 50-70 members in 2013 to 194 members this summer.
It now also provides healthy snacks and meals that exceed United States Department of Agriculture requirements, totaling 29,400 meals and snacks from just January to August in 2015.
The club continues to demonstrate progressive strides, proving that receiving the FIF award was well-earned.
“It’s great to have the work that our staff and board do to be recognized, but it’s not about the award,” Wright said.
The club is always open to new members and is the perfect place for kids to have fun making friends and building character.
For more information about the club, visit its website at or call 423-543-2946.

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