Youth City: Empowering Youth with a Bright Future

Nov. 17, 2016

For many youth in London, the Boys and Girls Club is a place of opportunity, acceptance, and hope. For years, the Club has offered accessible recreational programming giving youth access to activities that allow them to reach their full potential. Now, with its Youth City initiative, the Boys and Girls Club is taking youth engagement to the next level.

Youth City is an initiative by youth, for youth. A revamp to the Club’s regular programming, Youth City will allow youth to build skills, and explore career opportunities by exposing them to digital and creative activities. Thanks to an $85,000 Community Vitality grant, the Boys and Girls Club will be able to make Youth City, a reality.

The Foundation’s investment in this initiative will allow the Boys and Girls Club to renovate their games room with the construction of a music recording area in addition to the purchase of equipment required to offer programming in music recording and film-making.

Youth unemployment is a growing issue in our community as well as in communities across the country. This is a particular concern for youth in underserved communities where educational outcomes are significantly lower than our city’s averages. This suggests children and youth from more vulnerable neighborhoods require access to additional programs and supports to ensure they thrive socially and academically, and in their future career.

The challenge is, many youth in these situations face barriers to accessing recreational programming.  Boys and Girls Club offers recreational experiences that they otherwise would not have access to. Recreational programming at the Boys and Girls Club is a positive alternative to high risk behaviors that can result in negative outcomes such as addiction, violence and jail. The programming at the Boys and Girls Club has the ability to help them enhance their leadership skills and reach their full potential.

Through Youth City, the Club will not only expose youth to creative activities in the digital field, helping them gain skills and imagine future career opportunities. In collaboration with local organizations, the programming will focus on areas of science, technology, art, design and math. In addition, Youth City will provide a path to built-in employment opportunities within the Club.

The Boys and Girls Club in London really prides itself on being inclusive, being welcoming, hearing youths’ voice in our programming and empowering them to be a part of what we create.” – Arden McLean, Program Manager, Boys and Girls Club