Host Cricket Paulsen is joined by Fran Hurley and Lauren Confort from the Boys and Girls Club of Metrowest, MA. There are three participating clubs under one regional umbrella, working together to share resources: Marlboro, Hudson and Framingham. The three clubs, including the licensed preschool in Marlboro, serve 3,500 kids in the Metrowest. The state of Massachusetts has 41 clubs total, all working to support programs for children. Some of those programs involve academic support after school, Lego robotics, arts and crafts, sports, reading support and learning leadership skills.
The clubs also focus on teaching kids technology which is especially useful as many kids dont have access to such resources at home. During the school year students go to the clubs after school, often by bus. Transportation is a large budget item but is vital. Joining the club only costs $25 a year but the busing adds quite a bit to that so funding is from sources in the community is crucial. Many area corporations participate either with donations of money or volunteers.
Several area companies provide the clubs with much needed equipment for their different programs such as sports or tutoring and arts and crafts. Area schools like St. Marks School in Southborough send student tutors weekly. Local Libraries and the Big Brother Big Sister program of Central Mass and Metrowest are excellent community resources. Fran mentioned that many of the staff and volunteers have worked with the organization for over twenty years. Former club members often return to help with the kids and to encourage them, especially during the summer camps. When school isnt in session the clubs offer kids the opportunity to spend all day doing a variety of supervised activities. In the summer field trips and sports are popular elements of the camp program. There is a lot of demand for the scholarship slots at the camps and the three clubs give away over $80,000.00 to help offset camper expenses. Donations are especially appreciated for these programs with so many kids needing support in the summer months.
Framingham provides breakfast and lunch for their campers and Marlboro has a limited lunch program. This is very important as many kids rely on these meals during the school year. Another program that is getting a boost is a summer Brain Gain reading initiative. This is being made possible by Red Nose Day which raises funds for 12 different organizations that try to help childrens programs. Big in Britain for over 20 years, Red Nose Day is catching on here in the US and has been embraced by Walgreens and M&Ms. NBC is broadcasting a 3 hour Comic Relief telethon on Thursday May 21st to raise funds and Matt Lauer or the Today Show is on a two day bike trek to raise awareness of the cause. Make sure to check out the clubs website at: www.bcgmetrowest.org and see how you could help this terrific organization!