Brian Saxton, president elect, stepped to the podium for an update on the Boys and Girls Club. Everything that the Boys and Girls Club does is data driven, purposeful and intentional.  The children and teens took a survey last week, and their “Club Experience Factor” has risen from 66% in 2014 to 78% in 2016.  The goal is to see this raise on the new survey.
The Club Experience is based on four principals:
  ·  Safe First:  Several improvements include adding more cameras, using Deputy Williams, and earning a $125,000 safety grant
  ·  Having Fun
  ·  Having good adult relationships: which include new staffing and foster grandparents
  ·  Recognize accomplishments which include Club Kid of the Year, Graduations, Admission to College or other successes like Americorp.
Fifty kids were in the summer reading intervention program last summer and ½ of them went up 4 levels
     Besides academic success, the Boys and Girls Club also works with improving character. The club recognizes that the students are dealing with grief and trauma.  They are participating in a Pilot Program called “Be There” which teaches the skills children need to deal with their problems.  The club also is partnering with the local schools to provide wrap around service.  Since this all started, the suspension rates are going down, the grades are going up, and sibling relationships are improving. 
     Last summer there was a 10 week summer reading program in which 528 kids participated.  On average, the students improved ½ grade in 10 weeks.
The teen center includes five retired teachers.  There are 35 kids working on college entry next year. 
     The clubs are also working on healthy lifestyles, and they are including healthy eating with this.  There is a $200,000 grant for food.  Also, the football team comes to the teen center after practice for a hot dinner. There are 15-20 foster grandparents working with the children and teaching leadership and responsibility. There are lock ins at the teen center for basketball, food and fun.  There are 12 mentors who organize this.  Tonight there will be 200 kids at the lock in.
   The club is also working with the teens to help them find employment.  They are teaching soft skills about how to look for a job and how to keep a job.  Junior Achievement works with the kids and there are trips to businesses.  60 kids are now employed, and employers are looking at the club to find new employees. 
   The local club is above the national average in economic benefits:  For every $1 invested in Boys and Girls Club in Benton Harbor, the region gets an economic benefit of $12.64.  Thanks to Dyann Chenault for these notes.