Empowering Students to Reach Their Full Potential
| Chase McConnell
This regular feature spotlights an organization from our community we’re excited to collaborate with.
Since its start, the Boys & Girls Club (B&GC) has empowered students in underserved communities to reach their full potential. Here in central Ohio, they’re continuing that mission by serving communities impacted by the pandemic.
“We’re much more than ping-pong and pool tables,” said Juliann Garrett, chief advancement officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Ohio, referring to the preconceived notions some may have about the club. “We have a disciplined model to wrap around the kids that we serve and to work with them to achieve our mission.”
Since the pandemic, they’ve been able to prove that repeatedly.
Like many schools and nonprofits that work in underserved communities, the club was forced to re-imagine programming in a virtual or socially distant world. At their J. Ashburn Jr. Clubhouse, found in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus, the club managed to quickly respond to the onset of the pandemic, pivoting to an online experience — and then reopening its doors in June when many schools closed theirs.
Historically, the central Ohio clubs reached 4,000 children throughout Columbus. The pandemic’s shrunk that number. For the children they reach, the club is a crucial resource. The clubhouse aims to improve academic and social-emotional outcomes for students at the neighboring Highland Elementary School, where over 50 percent of the student population lives in domestic violence or homeless shelters. This makes the need for after-school programming even more important.
While at the clubhouse, students enrolled in their Highland Bridge Club focus on four key areas: Academic Success, Physical Wellness, Character & Leadership and Social-Emotional Learning. Right now, Academic Success is where most of the work is happening.
“We don’t want to just complement traditional learning — we want to supplement it,” Juliann said.
While traditionally an after-school program, the club pivoted at the onset of the pandemic and now gives children a safe space to focus on their schoolwork during the school day.
The results speak for themselves. While data is limited due to the pandemic, test scores for the students enrolled in the Highland Bridge Club increased — 90 percent saw an increase in their math scores and 55 percent increased their reading scores.
And this is only the start. As the pandemic continues, Juliann wants the community to know the club is there and open.
“We want families to know we’re here to serve their kids,” she said.
The club is staying nimble and pivoting as new challenges arise to make sure their kids are experiencing some normalcy during their school day — and that they’re safe.
This is particularly important in an area like Hilltop. Poverty, unemployment, drug addiction and domestic violence touch many, and the Boys and Girls Club gives students a safe space and the tools needed to break out of those cycles.
CoverMyMeds continues to support and work with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Ohio and our other community partners to help the Hilltop and Franklinton communities. This includes extensive learning opportunities to help students reach their full potential.
To learn more about the great work the Boys and Girls Club of Central Ohio is doing, visit their website. To learn more about our commitment to the community we call home, check out our Our Community Commitment page.