Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (BGCGM) today announced it received a $500,000 gift from longtime BGCGM supporter and former Senator Herb Kohl to extend its summer service schedule. The official announcement of the gift and the summer extension was made by Vincent Lyles, President & CEO of BGCGM, together with community leaders Edward Flynn, Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department and Tom Barrett, Mayor of the City of Milwaukee on Tuesday, July 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the Don & Sallie Davis Boys & Girls Club at 1975 S. 24th Street, Milwaukee. This gift allows BGCGM to continue to provide a safe place for kids every day in August, the first time that BGCGM has been able to provide this for their families.
Through the extended programming, BGCGM will continue to provide safe places and full-day activities for more than 5,000 kids aged five through eighteen who attend the Clubs each day. BGCGM gives its members access to caring adults and offers opportunities to participate in structured activities at a critical time during the summer when many kids may otherwise be unsupervised. During the extra program weeks in August, the Clubs will serve more than 70,000 meals to its members.
“I believe Boys & Girls Clubs are a valuable resource for our city, and I am happy to be able to contribute to the enrichment and safety of local youth for the entire summer,” said Senator Kohl.
“We are thankful Senator Kohl chose to invest in our future generation of leaders,” said Vincent Lyles, president & CEO of BGCGM. “Summer is a time when our families need a resource like the Clubs to ensure children are safe, well-fed and continuing to learn.”
BGCGM is working in partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) to offer the extended weeks of programing in August. As a result, 22 BGCGM clubs will be extending their programming, bringing the total number of clubs open in August to 36. Of the 36 clubs, 30 locations will be open through Friday, August 14 and six locations will be extended through Friday, August 28. MPS will supply meals for club members at its school-based Club locations during the extended summer schedule.
“MPS is proud to continue our collaborative partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs to further support learning and safety for our students,” saidDr. Darienne Driver, Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. “This extension will ensure youth have continued access to three nutritious meals per day, as well as ongoing enrichment and recreation activities to keep them safe and help prepare them for the 2015-16 school year.”
This announcement comes at a time when violence and homicide victims in Milwaukee, specifically involving youth, has far surpassed anything seen in recent years. A first quarter report from the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission found homicides are up 182 percent and shootings are up 31 percent since last year. Many of these victims are under 30 years old.
“The Milwaukee Police Department is working closely with the Boys & Girls Clubs to help engage our community about the importance of violence prevention,” said Chief Flynn. “This is the time of year when we need programs like this in place to keep our community and its youth safe.”
Some of the activities club members will have the opportunity to participate in during the extension period this summer include: visual arts programming, music lessons, baseball, teen-specific programming such as college tours and exploration of careers in the trades, field trips, swimming, African dance and drumming, and soccer. In addition, some members will continue participating in the Milwaukee Public Library’s Super Reader program to encourage summer reading.
“The City of Milwaukee is grateful to Senator Kohl and the Boys & Girls Clubs for providing our youth with opportunities to participate in meaningful and productive activities,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.
This announcement comes just a few months after Senator Kohl was honored at BGCGM’s MVP Salute to Youth event for his numerous contributions to the community as an advocate for BGCGM. He was praised for his role as co-author for a piece of legislation that made federal funding for the Boys & Girls Clubs an “annual event.”
For more information about the extended summer programming, visit: http://www.boysgirlsclubs.org/Programs/summer-programs.aspx.