Located in Monrovia, Calif., Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills (BGCF) works to ensure that all children have access to quality programs and services at an affordable cost. It strives to enable young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. To cast your vote, use the social media buttons to share this story, or leave a comment below. If they reach 500 votes, the $5,000 donation they’ve already earned doubles to $10,000!
Kids need consistent care and attention to thrive. That’s why BGCF operates during the critical after-school hours and over summers and holiday breaks — precisely when many kids need positive things to do. Unlike many other after-school programs, BGCF is not a drop-in center. Instead, it’s a fun and nurturing place for kids to gather on a regular schedule to enjoy supervised programs that promote healthy minds and bodies. And it’s working. More than 86% of its members attend more than 100 days a year. This structure and consistency have shown to significantly improve the lives of the more than 350 youth they see each day.
Denise Weaver and Vanessa, her reading mentee, have been reading together at the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills for more than four years.
Coordinated, consistent care
Matt and Denise Weaver, owners of Weaver & Associates, exemplify the long-term approach embraced by BGCF. Other members of their agency, including the couple’s daughter Dana, who runs the day-to-day operations, Dana’s husband, and 14 other employees, are dedicated to showing up for the kids at the center.
Matt organizes special field trips and has served on the board for more than a decade. Denise has been a reading mentor for more than nine years, spending an hour per week at the Club reading with elementary school-aged children. “What I love best about the reading program is seeing the kids’ confidence soar as their reading improves,” she said. “This past year, one child improved over 500 points on their school reading tests!” Other Weaver & Associates employees help with annual fundraisers and support various programs such as the running club.
This consistency was particularly important throughout the pandemic. BGCF was one of the only youth-serving organizations in the San Gabriel Valley that stayed open during the pandemic. They provided a safe, structured environment that included education and social engagement for kids of first responders and essential workers while schools were closed. In addition, the Club offered virtual tutoring so volunteers like Denise could safely continue to work with kids who were falling behind. All this adapting and flexibility gave a whole new meaning to the Boys & Girls Club tagline, “Whatever it Takes.”
Building confidence through mentorship
BGCF programs help youth of all backgrounds develop the qualities they need to overcome obstacles and grow as leaders. And this starts with building confidence. “Confidence and self-worth are essential life skills,” said BGCF Executive Director John Wilson. “Like most skills worth honing, this can take time and reinforcement. BGCF relies on steady volunteers like Matt, Denise, and their team to support us in helping kids develop confidence, leadership skills and healthy habits.”
Matt has seen this support in action at BGCF and is encouraged by the results. “The way the Club gives kids an opportunity to be more than they ever imagined they could be is truly remarkable,” he said. “We realize how important it is to show up regularly for these kids. They deserve it. For some, the Club is often the only consistent thing in their lives.”
“What I love best about the reading program is seeing the kids’ confidence soar as their reading improves.”
– Denise Weaver, Co-Owner, Weaver & Associates, Inc.
Denise took Vanessa, her mentee at the Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills, to the San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside, Calif to conduct research for a school project.
“BGCF relies on steady volunteers like Matt, Denise, and their team to support us in helping kids develop confidence, leadership skills and healthy habits.”
– John Wilson, Executive Director, BGCF
Leadership skills for life
If awarded, BGCF would use a $10,000 donation from Safeco and Liberty Mutual Insurance to retain staff and buy supplies so they can continue to support kids who need a safe and nurturing place to gather during the summer or after school.