Urgent call to mitigate educational lack in disadvantaged communities

(San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 23, 2020) More than a month after the arrival of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, and after the economic effects it has caused in the country and worldwide, Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR), a community-based non-profit organization with more than 50 years of service, and more than 300 employees who carry out the mission to eradicate child poverty, make an urgent call for support to continue operating virtually amid the emergency and to be ready to resume services once the period of social isolation ends.

 “We need utopian people like us, who believe that it is possible to transform the world through education and social support for both children and their families, to join the virtual fundraising campaign #ClubsToTheRescue and donate for the future of generations that dream and deserve the best”, said Olga Ramos Carrasquillo, BGCPR president.

 Throughout the 52-year history of BGCPR, the passionate education and human development professionals have provided direct after-school service in disadvantaged communities from Mayagüez to Vieques, with a commitment to the development of children, youth and the country.  In the most recent National Youth Outcome Initiative survey, 92% of BGCPR participants indicated that Clubs strengthen their emotional security.  Meanwhile, 98% said that their mentors help them set high expectations.  This last data could explain why 96% of the BGCPR participants are promoted to the next grade and the same percent graduate from high school, in spite of living in poverty.

 “In the last two and a half years, our employees have supported our participants and their families in hard times that no one expected: Hurricanes Irma and María, the effects of the country’s economic situation that has such an impact on our sources of funds, earthquakes and their consequences on education, and now COVID-19.  Today, from their homes, they provide educational and recreational tools through our website.  Once again, they have offered a quick response in the midst of a crisis,” said the president about the organization’s employees and the new educational page at the BGCPR website called: Educate at home.

 To continue transforming youth through educational services, career guidance, physical and holistic activities, arts, and family support to participants, BGCPR needs the support of partners, donors, and taxpayers.  The fundraising effort, #ClubsToTheRescue, becomes more crucial after the main fundraising event, Youth of the Year 2020, was canceled due to the emergency caused by COVID-19.

Every year, BGCPR impacts about 15,000 children, youth and their families.  9 out of 10 of them live below the poverty level and 59% live on an annual income of $5,000 or less.

 “For most of our children and youth, the Club is their second home and their mentors become their extended family or first line of support.  Additionally, apart from being their mentors, they are advocates for all the children and youth of Puerto Rico, especially those who live in poverty, which historically is around 60%, without there having been an effort by the country to break this generational cycle.”, concluded Ramos Carrasquillo.

If you want to contribute to Clubs to the Rescue, log in to donate.bgcpr.org, or make your donation through ATHmóvil using the pATH / BoysAndGirlsClubsDePR.  For more information, visit bgcpr.org or find us on facebook.com/BGCPR.