By Karen Stokes
With school ending and summer fast approaching, children need positive, fun activities to occupy their time.
The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee (BGCGM) understands that need in the Milwaukee community and plans to extend their summer program.
The BGCGM is launching the “A Club for Every Kid” campaign, with the purpose to spread awareness on extended hours, letting parents know that every family needs a safe place for their children, and there’s a Boys and Girls Club location available.
A statement on BoysGirlsClubs.org explains, “A Club for Every Kid is about inspiration, confidence, safety and nourishment for every child in Milwaukee. We know the after school hours can be the most dangerous for Milwaukee’s youth.”
Over the past year, the Milwaukee Police Department has seen a 163 percent increase in juvenile arrests between 2011 and 2015. Statistics show that in 2015, the most dangerous times for juvenile crime was from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Additionally, one-third of all juvenile arrests happen between 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. For these reasons, the BGCGM is extending their summer service schedule to provide services and activities through the month of August.
The programs will be well planned and supervised. BGCGM currently serves approximately 43,000, expecting to accommodate many more children this summer.
“Summer hours will vary by location,” said Telemachus Rafaelidys, development and communications manager of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
“Kids will do various activities, arts programming, sports and rec programming inside the gym and outside, academic activities in the computer lab, meals and field trips to places like the zoo, Brewers games, parks, water parks and other fun outings,” Rafaelidys said.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s 2014 Outcomes Report stated that high school-age Club members are more likely to abstain from high risk behaviors than their non-club counterparts.
“We know our approach is working, but we need to make more parents aware of our solution, especially as summer approaches and many Milwaukee youth have the potential to be left unsupervised or lacking productive activities,” said Vincent Lyles, president and CEO of BGCGM.
“That’s why it’s crucial to raise awareness and announce expanded summer services now, so families can plan ahead.
Summer is a time when our families need a resource like the Clubs to ensure their children are safe, well-fed and continuing to learn.”
The awareness campaign will include TV, print, radio and an online video spot. To see the video or to find more information about schedules and activities, visit BoysGirlsClubs.org