This week for Community Conversations, our host ST Billingsley sat down with Jim Almond, Vice President of the Virginia region for the Boys & Girls Club in Prince William County.
Q: What is the mission of the Boys & Girls Club?
A: The mission of the Boys & Girls Club is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those that need us most, to reach their full potential as productive and responsible citizens. Now when we say, ‘those that need us most’, sometimes they think of Boys & Girls Club as serving only the less fortunate – the economically challenged kids – but any kid that can come to the Boys & Girls Club are ones that we want to have them participate in our programs.
Q: The Boys & Girls Club has many programs. What are some of the sports programs, and some of the life skills programs?
A: One of the programs I’ll talk about is called ‘Power Hour’. And Power Hour is a homework program where the kids can come in after school, and they have an opportunity to get assistance from the staff members to complete their assignments, to help them study, help them prepare for tests, and also complete their take-home assignments.
Another program we have is called ‘Triple Play’ and that’s along with athletics. Triple Play stands for Mind, Body, and Soul, while helping them battle childhood obesity.
Q: So the Boys & Girls Clubs have before and after school programs. Tell me a little about that.
A: Our before and after school programs are essentially SAC – school aged child care. The great thing about our programs is not only do the kids come in – and it’s not just like a drop-off babysitting piece before they go to school – they actually get to interact with our youth development professionals, which all our staff members are.
They get a nutritional snack, they get assistance with any homework assignments – anything they did not finish at home – and then the good thing about it is they are very, very, very much involved in the programming that takes place at the club on a regular basis – they get the benefit of that as well.
Q: With the Boys & Girls Club programs being set up at the schools, how do they get back and forth?
A: We pick them up. We pick them up, from school after school, and also when they’re dropped off in the morning at the club, we take them to school.
Q: How do the clubs work with the snow days, and the parents?
A: Well, the good thing about our program is that we’re very, very flexible. The only time that we’re going to be closed, is if the roads are impassable and it’s unsafe for the parents to get their kids there, or for the staff to get to work. But we definitely adjust our hours to make sure that we accommodate.
We open at 6 a.m. in the morning, and when it’s snow days, we stay open all day, from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and their cost is already paid with their before and after care price.
Q: You also have some other programs that come along, seasonally or annually, such as – you recently had the Tech Girls Rock.
A: Absolutely, we have a program at our club in Manassas, and in that program, we want young girls together. We understand that technology is the way that we’re going right now in society. So we try to make sure that we’re touching that phase of our program as well. But we have 83 kids that came. This was a partnership with CA Technologies, and with Boys & Girls Club of America.
Q: There are three clubs in Prince William.
A: Correct, we have one in Dumfries – the General Heiser Club – we have the one in Manassas – the one I just mentioned, the Martin K. Alloy Club – and then we also have the Hylton branch, that’s in Woodbridge.
Q: Of course with programs like this, you need donations and funding. What’s one of the events that you have coming up here?
A: Our signature event is called Steak ‘n’ Stake. It’s going to be on April 4, and it’s going to be at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. It’s an awesome event. We have three great honorees that we will be recognizing at the event. We usually have between 200 and 250 people attend. There are sponsorship opportunities, and we would love, love, for everyone to come out and enjoy that night with us.
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