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HARLEM WEEK 2019: Boys and Girls Club of Harlem’s year-round mission aiding uptown’s youth

2019-08-14

Boys and Girls Club of Harlem participants spending some time in the sun. But activities such as education, sports and recreation, the arts, health and wellness, career development are always on the agenda at the club. (Handout)

While many children and teens are preoccupied with their carefree summer, the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem staff are quite busy — providing programs for summertime and well beyond.

Totally in step with its young clients' summer fun, the organization is also several steps ahead – planning for the students' return to school and the BGCHarlem's fall activities.

Comprehensive youth development — through programs in areas such as in education, sports and recreation, the arts, health and wellness, career development — is the purpose of the uptown organization.

And it’s a year-round effort. The club is as enthusiastic about summer camps and as it is about its upcoming after-school programs and other initiatives.

Dominique Jones, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, is overseeing daily operations for the young clients year-round. She is also preparing events for BGCHarlem's 40th anniversary celebration in 2020.
Dominique Jones, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, is overseeing daily operations for the young clients year-round. She is also preparing events for BGCHarlem's 40th anniversary celebration in 2020.

“Key highlights for our club this year will include the start of our after-school programs, both at our main clubhouse and at five New York City public schools,” said Dominique Jones, executive director of the Harlem club at 521 W. 145th St.

She added that more than 1,200 children and teens are expected to take part in the club’s youth development programs throughout the school year.

Keeping up with fast-moving technology, the BGCHarlem was named a Disney STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Center of Innovation by the Boys and Girls Club of America this year. This important designation allows the club to access invaluable resources and provide “high-quality STEM learning experiences” to participants.

Last year, the Walt Disney Company – inspired by the success of its Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” film – donated $1 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to expand its STEM programs at 12 branches.

Kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem on the move.
Kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem on the move. (Handout)

The Disney Centers of Innovation provide hands-on access to advanced technologies, including robotics, 3-D printers, video production and conferencing, and a dedicated STEM expert offering support “to help Club members develop their STEM skills and critical thinking.”

In addition to the STEM initiative and regular activities, club leaders, staff and participants are preparing activities and events for BGCHarlem’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2020.

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“We will pay homage to the Convent Avenue Baptist Church leaders who founded us, and celebrate our many champions over the year,” said Jones, adding that there will be other special events in addition to a renewed commitment to kids and community. “Most importantly, we will double down on our commitment to the kids we serve by continuing to provide high-quality programming year-round so that Harlem’s youth can achieve great things in school and in life.”

Visit bgcharlem.org or call (212) 283-6770 for information.