The “Education Equation” includes more than just the schools and parents. A crucial factor is the local community organization, which bridges the gap between academia and home. Youth-serving organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier, often serve as partners to both teachers and parents by providing programs and resources to bolster schoolwork.
BE GREAT Graduate Program
Be Great Graduate is a program available for youth ages 6-18 who demonstrate warning signs that put them at risk of dropping out of school. There is a targeted focus on middle school youth as research indicates reliable correlation of warning signs by this age. Be Great Graduate is a comprehensive strategy based on the University of Minnesota's evidence-based model, Check and Connect. The strategy consists of three components:
- Mentor-Youth Relationship: A long term, one-on-one mentoring relationship that is focused on building the youth's belief that they can be successful in school and life.
- Intentional Tracking: Clubs gather attendance, behavior and course performance data from schools so interventions can be timely, and focused on addressing obstacles and celebrating improvements.
- Enhanced Club-School-Home Partnership and Communication: Clubs and schools work together to share information and resources; Clubs work to engage parents in their Child's education.
Club Staff and volunteer mentors are trained to use their strength-based strategies and problem solving techniques through strong relationships to support young people at risk for future school failure.
College Bound, targets all 9th – 12th grade Club members (annually we serve approximately 500 teens). It is designed to assist and guide students through the college preparation process. Club members participating in the program are counseled on appropriate high school and college prep curriculum choices, testing protocols, information on the Cal Grant program, as well as other financial aid opportunities, and SAT preparation. In addition they receive instruction and assistance with submitting college applications, and identifying potential scholarships within the higher education environment. Throughout the year, members are given the opportunity to participate in weekly workshops and visit and experience a variety of college campuses through tours and classroom audits.
Power Hour is a comprehensive homework help and tutoring program for all members, including our teen population. It is carefully structured to give staff members several options for helping members achieve maximum success. In the homework assistance program, a supervisor oversees a group of members who are working to complete their daily homework assignments. The program relies on staff members and volunteers – adults or college students from the community – to supervise homework completion and to keep track of members’ progress. In some instances, additional tutors are recruited to work with individual members on a one-to-one basis.
Tutoring & Mentoring Services
BGCW has worked diligently to establish a formal mentoring program, which has been designed to provide members with strong role models who encourage the development of caring and positive relationships, personal and social responsibility, academic achievement, motivation, and the building of healthy self-esteem. It is essential for members to build positive attitudes in order to achieve at higher levels, improve relations with peers, build self-confidence, and learn to take responsibility for their actions. With a successful mentoring program now in place, BGCW is now positioned to embark upon a stronger and more formalized tutoring program. Tutoring sessions will be designed to enable tutors to set individualized schedules with their students, as well as a collective tutoring time that will be available to all Club members at minimal or no charge.
The goal of College Bound is to introduce and expose Club members to the idea and attainability of a college education and prepare them for success after graduation from high school. College Bound is a year-round program that introduces and exposes Club members to the idea of college, provides daily academic support, sponsors numerous college pathway activities, including important resource acquisition, and prepares members for a successful college experience. At the heart of this program is the one-on-one case management strategy, through which youth receive the guidance, encouragement, and resources they need to set and obtain their educational goals. Case Managers track academic progress and note the classes needed to meet the curriculum requirements of the University of California, California State University, and community college systems. Over the course of the program, the Case Managers work with youth to develop academic goals. They guide youth through application and testing procedures, provide academic tutoring, assist with financial aid applications, teach youth to manage deadlines, advocate on their behalf, counsel parents, and provide cultural mentoring.
Power Hour: Making Minutes Count helps Club members ages 6-18 achieve academic success by providing homework help, tutoring, and high-yield learning activities and encouraging members to become self-directed learners. Printed program materials include a resource guide for program coordinators, homework helpers and tutors and a poster-sized Power Points chart for tracking and rewarding participants’ progress.
Research has shown that students who participate in arts based lessons often improve their achievement in other realms of learning and life. Boys & Girls Club of Whittier serves members of all ages with a fine arts program that encourages artistic expression among Club members ages 6-18 through drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and sculpture while providing opportunities for members to create artwork for display in a local exhibit.
The music program is available for all members to encourage participation in basic, intermediary, and advanced skills with a variety of instruments . When students participate in music activities, they are also strengthening their physical, language, social-emotional and cognitive development. “A study of 106 preschool children found that those exposed to a systematic and integrated music program significantly increased their motor, cognitive, language, and social-emotional scores as assessed by the Preschool Evaluation Scale .” The music instruments the club offers are guitar, string, percussion, and wind instruments.
STEM Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to closing the opportunity gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with innovative and creative programs, activity ideas and resources for Clubs and the youth they serve. After-school and summer learning environments provide unique opportunities to advance STEM knowledge and increase interest in STEM-related careers. Using a cross-disciplinary approach that channels young people’s natural curiosity into the design process inherent in the arts, BGCA’s STEM programs empower youth to create new solutions to real-world challenges. This project-based approach develops critical thinking, problem-solving and other 21st-century skills critical to success in the STEM workforce and beyond.
Club Tech offers access to technology that helps level the virtual playing field by providing our teenagers with the resources and skills necessary to help them perform better in school, and eventually the workplace. One of the most dynamic components of Club Tech is our Digital Arts Suite, which are five interactive tutorials that teach members the basics of a particular creative digital skill, laying a foundation to progress to a more advanced skill level. Web Tech teaches the basics of Web site development and design; Design Tech instructs on the fundamentals of graphic design and desktop publishing; Photo Tech schools youth in digital photography and photo manipulation; Movie Tech coaches’ script writing and digital movie-making skills; and Music Tech introduces youth to electronic music production.
Whittier College's Fifth Dimension Program
Whittier Fifth Dimension play and learning unfold through educational computer games, telecommunications tasks, and Internet investigations that require reading, writing, mathematics, and logical problem solving. All are set in a fanciful activity system overseen by The WIZARD, said to be the Fifth Dimension's founder and patron. Children who participate in the Fifth Dimension work closely, (often one-on-one) with the BCM Scholars, Whittier College students who while in the Fifth Dimension are known as Wizards’ Assistants (W.A.s). Learn more about the Fifth Dimension Program.