The Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady continues to do Whatever It Takes!
In September of 2020, four of the traditional Schenectady Boys & Girls Clubs including Adeline Wright Graham, Rotterdam, Mont Pleasant and Steinmetz Clubs, reopened to provide programming, assistance with schoolwork and much-needed socialization for Schenectady’s kids and teens.
While things certainly look different, the sound of kids laughing and playing was a celebrated change after three of the Clubs sat empty since March. In following the Boys & Girls Club COVID-19 Safety Plan, BGCS staff was excited to return to some sense of normalcy and support our families in more traditional ways. Due to New York State restrictions, the number of kids that could return to the Club buildings has been limited, but the ones that are able to attend are benefitting greatly from their time at the Club.
The Clubs shifted hours to support our families’ needs which vary by community therefore Clubs are opening any time between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. which provides kids and teens a safe place to go during distance-learning activities while many parents are working.
In addition, youth development staff has greatly shifted their focus to now support a virtual learning environment, providing access to required technology, maintaining school class schedules and assignments, and often supporting the completion of the students’ assigned work.
At the Adeline Wright Graham Club, we recently incentivized students to catch up and keep up with their virtual school assignments and we are happy to report 31 students qualified for this socially distanced pizza party incentive! Unit Director Kiara Shelley said, “It’s exciting to see so many accomplish their homework goal. They all worked very hard to accomplish this. Many of the youth have started homework pods to accomplish this goal for next month. “
In addition, the last Friday in February we held the first “Bee Awards Assembly” since our pandemic related closing almost one year ago. “This nearly brought me tears” said Kristen Kucij, Unit Director and BGCS youth development staff since 2008, “returning to something that was once part of our Club culture felt so incredible. This assembly is something I’ve missed and hearing the kids happy and excited was awesome!” she shared.
The Bee Awards recognizes youth members for ‘Beeing’ Respectful, Responsible and Safe, supporting a culture of positive behavior.
Executive Director Shane Bargy stated, “When the pandemic took hold last March, we were proud to step up and act as the headquarters for the Schenectady County COVID-19 Emergency Coalition for 15 weeks. Providing support to those with food insecurity and other basic needs was vital at that time. However, when NYS said it was safe for us to allow the kids back in the facilities last June we were overjoyed. I am so proud that we have been able to keep the kids safe, make sure they are attending class virtually in our clubs, provide them nutritious meals and, most importantly, having the space for them to just be kids”.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady will continue to do “Whatever It Takes” to support our youth members and their families, the school districts in Schenectady County and the community in general to help get through these challenging times.
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