Continuing to Serve as a Critical Resource for Kids & Families
July 31, 2020
A letter from BGCSF President Rob Connolly to supporters:
Not surprisingly, this has been a deeply challenging last four and half months. I am really proud of our staff, our staff leadership, our Board of Governors, our partners, and our donors.
We pushed through every obstacle in our pathway, and I am proud to share the following highlights and milestones since March 17:
Immediately upon announcing the shelter-in-place order in San Francisco, the City named us an essential business. We initially kept seven Clubs open before reducing to four — Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, Sunnydale, and our Columbia Park Clubhouse in the Mission (this Club was open 13 hours per day to meet the needs of hospital workers, other emergency-services workers, and essential City workers).
Throughout the spring but especially in April and May, we played a huge role in community food distribution in support of both children and students. At the peak of our food distribution efforts, we served over 4,000 meals in a week. We continued food distribution throughout the summer at two locations — Excelsior and the Willie Mays Clubhouse in Hunters Point.
On June 15, when the city instituted Phase One reopening, we started our summer program, expanding our services to nine locations for in-Club services (this expanded to 10 locations on July 6th) and eight locations for virtual programming.
1,029 youth have participated in our programs with an average daily attendance of 476 youth between in-Club and virtual programs.
As our nation confronts racial and social injustice, our High-School Services team has engaged with 236 youth virtually in various leadership programs, providing them a forum to amplify and activate their perspectives and find opportunities to lead.
The Education team has been focused on reducing summer learning loss by providing virtual and in-Club academic support including but not limited to literacy and STEM enrichment programs. In total, nearly 628 youth have received academic support throughout the summer.
215 teens participated in programs that prepare them for future economic stability such as: - Virtual career exposure opportunities with Bay Area companies - Mock interviews, preparing youth for internships in the fall - Career Launch activities, including networking and resume writing workshops - Financial literacy programs
As we prepare for the new school year with no signs of the health crisis abating, our team is gearing up for more frontline services. The disproportionate impact of this pandemic on people of color shines a light on the complex barriers to success that our families face. BGCSF remains resolute in standing on the side of the kids and families who need us most. Our plan, provided the new health order allows for it, is to keep ten sites open while continuing to offer virtual services at no less than eight locations.
The support of the BGCSF community has enabled us to build a strong foundation of people, places, financial resources, and trust. We are confident that we will EMERGE STRONG from this crisis. These are challenging times for everyone, but so much more challenging for some. The Club is and will continue to be a critical beacon of hope for kids and families.
November is Children's Grief Awareness Month. With generous support from New York Life Foundation and 1440 Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) recently introduced the Healing Arts in Culture (HAiC) program and actively addresses the high rates of death among San Francisco’s BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. Led by our Behavioral Health Services Team, the series connects the incredible cultural diversity of our communities with opportunities and resources that support emotional wellness, while celebrating all identities, and histories, and supporting related social activism.
At a time when the challenges facing San Francisco often make headlines, those of us who are deeply involved in the City are frequently asked for our assessment on what is currently happening and what we expect for the future. While clearly there are complex issues that must be solved if our City and its people are to thrive, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) holds a steadfast sense of optimism for San Francisco, and we are committed to doing our part to ensure its bright future.