How our Boys & Girls Clubs Began
The Kids After School program was founded in 1990 in response to a community needs assessment, which showed that more than 600 students in Hutchinson Public Schools in sixth grade and younger were going home to empty houses. Kids After School sites, which were located at local elementary schools, allowed parents an affordable alternative to sending their children home alone. A site for students with developmental disabilities at Hutchinson High School was one of the first services of its kind in the nation.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Request
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America approached the City of Hutchinson in 1994 about forming a local Club. The outcome of the city planning meetings was the merger of the Boys & Girls Club with the Kids After School program. Through that merger, a respected national program was made available to the youth of Reno County without duplicating existing services.
Boys and Girls Club activities are available year round to kids age six to 18. Annual membership at our four locations approaches 1300 members while more than 475 students are served through Boys & Girls Club programming every day afterschool. In the summer, daily attendance at the Boys and Girls Club is almost 400 members per day.
Our program reaches many low to moderate income youth with programming in Character & Leadership; Education, Technology & Career Development; Health & Life Skills; The Arts; and Sports, Fitness & Recreation that might normally seem unaffordable or inaccessible to them.
Case studies show the results can be as simple as a new sense of self-esteem and higher academic achievement among participants, to cases as dramatic as youth being directed away from gang involvement.
Prevention vs. Intervention: An Investment Changes a Community
According to the nationally acclaimed Communities That Care model, the best way to reverse the trends of alcohol, tobacco, drug use and other negative behaviors among youth is to invest in protective factors that act as a buffer against specific risk factors.
The factors that place youth at risk for alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in Reno County are identified through surveys administered by local schools. Included among the top Reno County risk factors were academic failure; friends that use drugs and community norms. At the Boys & Girls Club, nationally tested prevention programs are being used to specifically target these local risk factors.
For Every $1 Invested in Prevention Programs, $5 is Saved in Intervention
Intervention takes place after the negative behavior has occurred. Whether it includes school suspension, court services or family counseling, intervention services are proven to be more costly and less effective than prevention services. The key to the Communities That Care model is to wrap preventive or protective services around the youth, surrounding them with a buffer and empowering them to protect themselves from risks. The Boys & Girls Club has been identified as one of the most effective protective services available for youth.