NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem has been making an impact and changing the lives of youths for over 39 years.
Started by the Convent Avenue Baptist Church on W. 145th Street in 1980, the youth organization now has five sites, which cater to hundreds of kids, ages 6 to 18.
In 2016, they opened their 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, which enables them to provide comprehensive youth development programming with access to 21st century learning tools.
Executive Director Dominique Jones sat down with City Views host Sharon Barnes-Waters to discuss these programs, which are helping kids on a path to success.
“Through our after-school programs, summer camps, our Saturday enrichment, we’re really making a difference in the lives of children but also giving families what they need to be empowered and to help to sustain themselves as well.”
The club helps kids broaden their horizon and see beyond their neighborhood by showing them the many cultural, institutional and recreational activities the city has to offer.
“If you are just living in a one-block radius on a regular basis going from home to school, school to home, you don’t really get the taste of our city. So our goal is to let them see NYC as their playground.
They can go to the Met and have just as much ownership to be there as any neighborhood institutions that they're in.”
Jones said teaching them computer programming, math and science helps open their minds to fields they may not have thought about before and helps them “build an interest in it.”
“Sometimes our kids feel reluctant to engage, feel a little intimidated and don’t know if that’s for them, and so we want to make sure that they are exposed to all the intricacies of putting together a computer program,” Jones said.
New York City kids go back to school Thursday, and the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem is partnering with the Department of Education and the state to provide quality programs after school.
“Our partnerships are important for us so that we can actually provide after-school programming on site in the school. People see us as a safe place, people see us as a space where kids can engage in a lot of different activities,” Jones said.
She is excited about what is in store for the kids and says “they're gonna have a blast!”
Visit the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem's website at www.bgcharlem.org to get the list of programs they provide.