DSM Forward: How the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa Continues to Inspire Young People
The Greater Des Moines Partnership DSM Forward webinar series offers insight on moving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region forward in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As plans are made and businesses reopen, The Partnership has put together resources for employers at DSMpartnership.com/DSMForward.
The “DSM Forward: How the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa Continues to Inspire Young People” webinar focuses on feeding and mentoring at-risk children, as well as specific offerings to enable young people to reach their full potential. Jodie Warth, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa (BGCCI), explains how the organization serves 150 staff and 750-800 kids a day —3,000 kids a year — in, primarily, sites across Des Moines Public Schools buildings. BGCCI also hosts a Boys & Girls Club on Drake University’s campus, only the second of its kind on a private college campus. Warth says the first of its kind teen-only site within Boys & Girls Club opened its new location this year. The club, E.T. Meredith Jr. Boys & Girls Club is only for high-school students and located near East High School.
Work also continues on the Studebaker Boys & Girls Club. Studebaker Elementary will hold the new BGCCI facility. The facility had planned to open last month, but will hold off and open now in August of 2021. The elementary site will assist even more kids within DSM, serving K-5 youth on the south side.
Take a look at the BGCCI At a Glance fact sheet here.
BGCCI programming is created specifically for the kids. The children served in the program are the ones who need it most. Warth says that the Character & Leadership Development program is where BGCCI is able to best abrupt the cycle of poverty. It’s where children learn to become productive members of their community, as well as how to be part of their neighborhood in a different way than their parents are. She says it’s important that members of their programming are able to see new pathways and opportunities.
BGCCI COVID-19 Pivots
BGCCI re-opened the Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Food Pantry site, in partnership with the Food Bank of Iowa, to the entire community in April 2020. The Refuel Station, a mobile pantry that also provides food for the community, is supported through DMARC and provides healthy options across Greater Des Moines (DSM) BGCCI sites.
Ways to Support BGCCI
Because of COVID-19, volunteer opportunities have been shut down for the time being. Virtual options for volunteers are being considered but for now, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, no active volunteers are allowed in Club sites.
The BGCCI, while not able to accept volunteers at this time, is looking for the following:
- Donations of food for Club kids
- One-time or monthly monetary donations for programming
- Winter clothing/outdoor accessories, including sweatshirts and winter coats, shoes, socks, gloves and hats for all ages (including adult sizing for teens)
Watch the entire webinar below:
Donate to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa COVID-19 Relief Fund here.
You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.