The goal of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico educational program is to close the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged children and youth from high risk communities and their peers in the general population. To achieve this goal, children and youth with poor academic outcomes receive the education services and the support they need to enrich their academic performance. Services are available from Monday to Friday and include:
1. Assistance with homework: Support with homework and reinforcement of what participants learned in school;
2. One-on-one specialized tutoring in math and language (English and Spanish).
3. Career Exploration: Support to establish academic goals and identify vocational interests.
4. Family Integration: Guidance and training for parents so they can guide and support their children in their academic processes.
5. Integral experiences of the Clubhouse: Monthly activities focused on the integral development of children and youth.
Created by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), this program responds to the crisis in secondary education in America. It promotes academic success and supports Club members as they work to graduate from high school and prepare for post-secondary education and professional success. It is an excellent opportunity to mentor young people who are in the process of deciding on their career and their professional future. Participants meet at least once a week and have opportunities such as round tables with industry leaders to listen to their stories and ask questions.
This program offers participants the necessary support to complete post-secondary education. Participants go through different phases:
- They explore their interests, talents and intelligences and collect works into a digital portfolio;
- They volunteer, intern and participate in pre-employment experiences in order to discover their passions and talents;
- They find solutions for the barriers that they face as they go into post-secondary education;
- They attend orientation work-shops to become familiar with standardized tests and ad-missions processes and identify which university will be a best fit for their profile and career of choice, and complete admissions documents. When participants are 18 and admitted into college, staff meets with participants once per semester to document their progress and ensure that they stay in college until graduation.
In order for participants to develop critical thinking and decision making skills, they are exposed to programs and activities related to STEM, robotics, coding, design, media production and other areas associated with innovation and computer skills. Activities such as workshops and projects are designed to give participants a chance to collaborate and develop teamwork and social skills.
Through the Arts, we encourage the development of creativity and the cultural competency of children and youth through knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts, crafts, performing arts and creative writing. The Theater program was designed to raise awareness about the benefits of learning drama, developing confidence, and stimulating creativity while increasing academic achievement.
Youth create their pieces in spaces that promote social awareness, critical thinking, problem solving and positive identity. The dance program develops coordination, rhythm and motor skills using movement and music. It stimulates the imagination and creativity by providing the opportunity to create choreographies to present in club activities, in the community and regional or national activities. These groups meet once or twice a week depending on the capacity of the club.
Promotes and teaches responsibility to males aged 11 to 14. It is a strategic effort to involve boys in discussions and interactive activities that reinforce positive behaviors. It consists of 14 weekly sessions of 60 to 90 minutes, each focused on specific aspects of masculinity. Each participant receives a “passport”, a journal where participants track their growth.
Is focused on the positive development of girls aged 9 to 18. The program integrates the relational cultural theory (RCT), resilience practices and life skills training in order to increase positive connections, personal and collective strengths and the competences of every girl. It seeks to counteract the social and interpersonal forces that threat and prevent their growth and development.
Girls’ Circle fosters self-esteem, connection with peers and expression of emotions through verbal sharing and creative activities. This evidence-based program has been implemented since 1994 in a wide range of scenarios with diverse populations of females. Girls meet weekly in small groups according to their ages. The frequency can vary between 8 to 12 sessions, where all the girls have a turn to talk about their concerns while the others listen. Then the issues raised are discussed to find solutions and create connection between participants.
Is Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico’s premiere leadership development and recognition program. Throughout this life-long experience, participants pursue excellence in academic achievement, service to the Club and the community, good moral character, healthy lifestyles and leadership. Starting at age 6, participants develop into eloquent and informed spokespeople for their Club and their community, while establishing life goals. The program is a continuous process throughout the year. Clubs select a Youth of the Month each month in three categories: 6-9 years old, 10-13 years old and 14-18 years old. In December, each club chooses a Junior Youth of the Year (ages 10-13) and a Youth of the Year (ages 14-18). Youth of the Month have the opportunity of participating in activities aimed at personal growth, leadership development and community work.
In May, the organization selects a Youth of the Year among the Youth of the Year of every Club. The BGCPR Youth of the Year represents Puerto Rico in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year competition. All YOYs are selected by a jury external to the organization, made up of representatives of the local public and private sectors.
Is a leadership and service program for boys and girls from 10 to 13 years old that seeks to develop trust in oneself, motivation and community impact. Torch Clubs are usually composed of 12-15 members and meet weekly. Torch Club members participate in activities that focus on personal development, learning about themselves, learning teamwork and social responsibility. Torch Club activities provide experience in the democratic process. Members learn to choose their own leadership team and work together to plan activities in four areas: club and community services, education, health and exercise, and recreation.
Through service activities, Torch Club members have an opportunity to bring together their passions and motivations with the needs of their communities. Facilitated by Club staff, participants go through a step-by-step process of identifying their talents and how to apply them to their chosen community projects.
Is a program for youth aged 14 to 18 where they have the opportunity to develop leadership and service skills through experience. Keystone Clubs are usually composed of 12-15 members and meet weekly.
Keystoners carry out activities that promote academic achievement, service, readiness for the future, leadership and active youth participation. These youth-led program and activities are a forum for youth to express their concerns and find the appropriate solutions. Youth acquire roles and responsibilities and distribute work to ensure that the projects are completed. Youth choose their own leadership and do a service project of their choice, which is presented to all clubs during the Youth Leadership Summit each summer.
This evidence-based program is an integral wellness system developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America in collaboration with the United States Department of Health and Human Services. With the aim of improving the health of children and youth aged 6 to 18, the program promotes physical activity, education about good nutrition and the development of healthy relationships. The goals of the program are to
- Increase the knowledge of club members about healthy eating habits, good nutrition and physical activity;
- Increase the number of daily hours in which members participate in physical activities;
- In-crease the ability to interact positively with peers of different ages and engage in healthy relationships.
The program has three components: Mind, Body and Soul.
- Healthy Habits: which comprises the Mind component, teaches children and youth how to make better food choices and keep fit through dynamic workshops and activities aimed at putting the acquired skills and knowledge into action, with the ultimate goal of improving health and overall well-being. Healthy Habits emphasizes on good nutrition by teaching participants the major nutrient categories, how to make informed food selections, to understand appropriate portion sizes, and to avoid trendy (and potentially dangerous) diets.
- Body: promotes traditional physical activities taken to a higher level, providing 300 minutes a week of physical activities open to all Club participants. BGCPR partners with Rising New York Road Runners, to provide participants access to an online platform where they track their physical activities without any cost to them.
- Soul: helps build positive relationships and teamwork among youth. While children learn to value and respect club professionals and fellow participants, they also learn to feel good about themselves and their surroundings. Club professionals learn how to design a diverse program that encourages individual growth as well as interpersonal communication. The soul component of Triple Play encompasses social activities that are critical to the positive development of youth, including high performance activities (HYA) and other experiences that strengthen interpersonal skills and positive character. Through the Social Recreation Program, the Soul component helps build healthy relationships among young people.
Activities of the Triple Play program include: Lessons on the preparation of healthy and balanced meals, on measurement of portions and on the functioning of the body, among other topics; Daily challenge activities and yoga to promote physical activity and Recreational activities to promote healthy interactions among youth.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico Hot Meals Program was established through a partnership with UNICEF USA after hurricane María hit Puerto Rico, and now we are working to ensure program continuity. Our goal with the meals program is to ensure the wellbeing of our participants by offering a healthy hot meal to every child or youth attending our clubs every day. A Lead Cook oversees this organization wide effort, which includes kitchens and kitchen staff at eight Clubs and catering services at the remaining four. The lead cook reached an agreement with a food sup-plier to purchase food in bulk at a reduced price, which includes delivery. Beyond a hot dinner, and to ensure that children develop healthy habits, cooks often bring children to the kitchens to prepare a meal or a dessert. Through these experiences, children learn teamwork and to be creative about their nutrition.
Aims at empowering parents to achieve their goals, to advocate for their needs and to help their children succeed. Case management helps individuals and families connect with services related to life skills and financial knowledge, education, housing, health and welfare. Families complete an evaluation and a success plan. The case manager follows up with each family to ensure compliance and success in the program.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico employment readiness program. The program provides training, internships and job placement opportunities. This sector based approach focuses on hospitality and tourism. The curriculum includes interdisciplinary courses to foster competencies for higher education and careers. The contents of the course range from how to search for available jobs, preparing a resume, preparing for the interview including how to dress. In order to increase job retention, topics include conflict management and behavior in the workplace.
Courses are completed in a semester, with up to 10 participants per cohort. Lessons and workshops are complemented by field trips and job shadowing experiences.
The goal of this program is for participants to develop an entrepreneurial, proactive mindset so they solve problems and design solutions in a sustainable and self directed way. This program is based in the notion that entrepreneurial skills and competencies are necessary for academic and professional success in any field. The competencies developed, such as team working, perseverance, problem solving through innovation and resources management may not lead immediately to venture creation, but they are crucial to thrive while venturing in business.
Project Makers develops the following competencies in children 9 to 18 years old through a curriculum with 30 hours of direct contact:
1) idea generation: identify personnel and community challenges to further develop potential solutions resources management: identify needed resources and manage to acquire such resources
2) leadership: ability to work in teams, identify external resources, inspire and persuade to accomplish common goals, and
3) start up: able to generate ideas and plans, evaluate risk and execute creating social economic and personal value.
The Entrepreneurship and Business Develop-ment HUB (E-HUB) aims to ignite a micro ecosystem to foster economic mobility in lownincome communities. The E-HUB will tackle three economic development opportunities:
(1) business ideas and entrepreneurial mindset crea-tion,
(2) legitimization of informal economic activities, and
(3) micro and small businesses growth.
These three areas respond to the major challenges that low income communities face as they strive for economic stability and improvement. The E-HUB will enable entrepreneurship and business development through activities focused on training, mentoring and access to capital.
A well-structured program will be able to assess the needs, aspirations and required resources of our participants on a case-by-case basis. Participants will create a development plan that could include training, mentoring and/or access to additional resources such as capital and key support services. Plans will include one or more of these possible paths:
(1) education and training towards business idea and selfemployment,
(2) legitimization of informal activities,
(3) further development and growth of legit small businesses.
The education component of the E-HUB will provide basic and advanced training. Courses will include topics related to general entrepreneurship mindset, business idea generation, customer validation, business model design, and basic marketing. Advanced topics for practicing entrepreneurs aiming to grow their small businesses will include strategic planning, organizational design, raising capital from micro financial institutions, marketing and management.
The mentoring component will be supported by a group of mentors in residence, trained and committed to identify key challenges of the micro/small businesses. Each small business referred to the mentorship platform will be committed to at least two hours a month face-to-face meeting with mentors, subsequent assignments and follow-ups. Mentors will commit to at least six months to a one year, in residence duty. These mentors will be carefully selected and trained to understand the needs of our communities, as well as the expectations and challenges of micro and small businesses.
Mentoring sessions will be documented to further measure the E-HUB impact and small businesses progress. Access to capital is one of the major challenges faced by all micro and small businesses. The E-HUB aims to collaborate with key players in the microfinance arena as well as dedicated institutional investors. The E-HUB will prepare the participants in need and willing to raise capital to develop their proposals and financial projections. Further support is also expected from mentors as they identify potential candidates to raise capital.
The E-HUB legitimization efforts aim to formalize current economic activities that may not have the proper permits or legal structures. Both, new businesses and informal activities will be supported by an e-commerce platform, designed and managed by the E-HUB. The e-commerce platform will provide a legal structure to launch and further develop sales for our supported businesses. It will also provide effective and inexpensive marketing to those starting self-employment activities or new small businesses.