March 20, 2020

A letter from BGCSF President Rob Connolly to supporters:
(Updated 3/25/20)


It’s been a tough few weeks, and I can see that the weeks ahead are going to be even more difficult. The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on societies all over the world. Like many of you, I pivot between staying abreast of the global crisis, national crisis, and regional/San Francisco crisis. I spend my days now gaming out what the crisis will look like two days ahead — educating myself so that I can plan, communicate, and effectively lead. I am in regular communication with the City, specifically the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families (DCYF) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), for guidance and information sharing.

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) has seven of its thirteen San Francisco locations open for limited hours and for a limited number of youth. BGCSF qualifies as an Essential Business as defined in the public health order. The Club is complying with SFDPH guidelines for childcare and youth services providers regarding social distancing. In addition to small-group programming, the Clubs provide daily lunch service to make sure that children do not go without daily nutrition.

Simultaneously, BGCSF built out a plan for virtual Club programming to engage with large numbers of youth from ages six to 18. Starting just two days after the Mayor of San Francisco ordered a shelter in place, BGCSF piloted the first of our virtual Club programs at the Excelsior Clubhouse. Less than a week later, we had built out a full schedule and began to engage youth and families across the City. The focus areas for our virtual engagement efforts are to keep our members connected outside the home, to bring about a return of routine and normalcy in their lives, and to facilitate continued learning and advancement. Through our engagement, we listen and reassure youth that no matter how much the world has changed, they are and will continue to be heard, valued, loved, and understood.

We work in communities that face significant challenges in the best of times. Abruptly taking critical resources like the Club out of communities during a time of heightened stress and anxiety could have significant unintended consequences. City leaders understand this, and we are all working together to meet our communities’ needs in the safest and smartest manner possible.

For all of us, there is no playbook for how to handle this crisis. The best we can do is to educate ourselves and muster up the energy to lead and serve with grace, empathy, courage, and strength. 

Thank you for being a supporter of BGCSF. Your past support has enabled us to build and sustain an organization that is deeply embedded in our neighborhoods and therefore well-positioned to help our communities overcome and rebound from the impacts of this virus.

Sincerely,

Rob Connolly
President

More Stories

Learn more about the happenings at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco.
Supporting Teens Through Adversity

With no time to prepare or adjust, too many of our Club teens have found themselves overwhelmed by the impact of COVID-19. Citywide Director of High School Services Earl Declet shares what our High School Services Directors and mentors are doing to support youth during these challenging times.

Stories from the Club

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” says James Holley, Columbia Park Clubhouse Director and 17-year BGCSF veteran. For James and our Clubhouse staff, the story is one of adapting amid uncertainty and overcoming challenges to continue to serve San Francisco youth and families.

Staying Healthy During Shelter-in-Place

As we continue to undergo this period of sheltering in place, it can be increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our young people. Here are some tips from our teens and Citywide Director of Youth Leadership Programs, Tavi Baker, MPH, highlighting nutrition and physical activity resources to explore during these challenging times.