BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OUTREACH PROGRAM
The Boys and Girls Club Outreach Program, directed by the Hillsboro Youth Liaison Officer, was made possible through a grant from the Washington County Law Enforcement Council (a multi-agency cooperative group). The Hillsboro Boys & Girls Club, Dick’s Country Dodge, St Vincent DePaul and the Hillsboro Police Department worked in collaboration to bring positive activities to primarily Hispanic youth living in a limited income apartment complex. Representatives from St. Vincent DePaul were instrumental in recruiting and communicating information to families; transportation was provided through a donated 15-passenger van, and activities were provided by the Hillsboro Boys and Girls Club. There were approximately 25-40 youth, aged 5-14, enrolled in this program on a daily basis.
Initially, the plan was to open the outreach program to several limited-income apartment complexes in Hillsboro. However, the response from the selected site was so overwhelming, it was decided to limit the project to this one site. A key factor in the site selection was that preliminary contact had been established through a representative from St. Vincent DePaul who had been previously assigned to work at this complex. This representative had developed a number of positive, ongoing relationships with tenants and management that made the implementation of this program less complicated. Future plans for the project include providing space in the recreation center at the complex to house a Boys & Girls Club educational/computer lab staffed by volunteers with direction from the Boys & Girls Club and an on-going relationship with the Hillsboro Youth Liaison Officer.
The youth were given "scholarships" ($15 membership fee was waived) into the Hillsboro Boys & Girls Club. The outreach program youth were entitled to all Boys & Girls Club resources such as the art, educational, games and teen room. They participated in many activities such as swimming, hiking, sports, games, Girl Scouts, and bowling. In addition, the kids were able to participate in the ‘Big Friday Field Trips’ with the rest of the Boys & Girls Club kids which included theme parks, state parks, the zoo, and a beach trip. Sack lunches were prepared daily at a local middle school cafeteria and all outreach kids were fed a nutritious meal, free of charge.
Even in its developmental stage, the Boys and Girls Club Outreach Program has received positive feedback from everyone involved. Through this program, children are being afforded the opportunity to view and participate in positive activities that provide alternatives to the violence and gang behavior that encompass their lives.
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.