By Vernon Rose, National Director of Affinity Markets, Boys & Girls Club of America
Meet Charles Holt. Actor. Story-teller. Producer. Author. And former Boys & Girls Club kid. In fact, he’s one of 16 million former Club kids. And we need to reach every one of these alumni in order to build a great future for today’s kids. Every Club alum has a unique story to encourage children today. The challenge for Boys & Girls Clubs? This potential army of former Club kids is nearly invisible.
In the spring of 2014, Charles stepped up for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and offered to help Club kids. This generous offer stemmed from his childhood experiences as a Club kid in Nashville, Tenn. Charles will soon visit Club kids across America, utilizing his unique storytelling and life experiences to share his story of how he unlocked his own inner voice and found his life’s purpose.
Through the creation of new apps developed by the teams of the Mobility LIVE! Hack-Back Invitational, BGCA hopes to soon have the unique opportunity to capture the attention, volunteerism and stories of millions of former Club kids like Charles.
The Mobility Live Hack-Back Invitational is a unique event created by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), whereby teams of hackers were invited to develop mobility solutions for national based nonprofits in a monthlong competition for cash and prizes. The 2014 program was held in conjunction with the 2014 Mobility LIVE! Conference in Atlanta in partnership with the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Teams of programmers, developers and coders were invited to compete in the event while helping to give (hack) back to three of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations – including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which is based in Atlanta.
As BGCA Club alumni range from age 18 to 80-plus, we are continuously challenged to seek affordable outlets to maintain visibility. The Hack-Back Invitational helped us with a solution to create access that our alumni and parents have never enjoyed before.
As part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Great Futures Campaign, engaging the 16 million alumni is a cornerstone of our efforts to build a great future for today’s kids. Many face challenges not known in earlier generations.
- The American dream is likely unattainable for the majority of kids today. Our nation’s state of poor academic performance, obesity, drug use and youth-related violence are cause for alarm and national action.
- Every day, 15 million kids leave school unsupervised, with no place to go. That’s more than a quarter of America’s kids left unguided and potentially unsafe after school.
- In the summer, some 43 million (3 out of 4) kids lack access to summer learning programs, increasing their risk of significant learning loss and falling off track to graduate from high school.
Our vision is ambitious: to assure success is within reach of every young person who enters our doors, with all Club members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle. We are excited about the launch of this new app to support our vision by engaging Club alumni to share their stories and to inspire parents with the living proof of alumni like Charles Holt.
“I challenge my fellow Club kids to join me in supporting the futures of Club kids today,” says Charles in issuing his call to action. “Igniting our energy, effort and care for the benefit of these children will be transformational, both for us and for kids!”
To learn more about the Great Futures campaign, visit www.greatfutures.org