Mentoring Month

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Boys & Girls Club will launch its Youth at Risk mentoring program on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Club members and their parents are invited to attend the event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. where they can meet mentors from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and enjoy light refreshments, carnival-type activities and learn what the Youth at Risk mentoring program has to offer.

The program, funded by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), utilizes mentoring as an effective way to prevent at-risk youth from educational failure, dropping out of school or involvement in delinquent activities, including gangs. In partnership with the Springfield Police Department and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, the Springfield Boys & Girls Club will demonstrate the importance of fitness, forming positive relationships with law enforcement, and practicing healthy habits through two program components.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America program, Triple Play, will serve as the mentoring program’s primary component. Triple Play, BGCA’s first comprehensive health and wellness program, strives to improve the overall health of Club members by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition, and helping them develop healthy relationships. Mentors will be recruited from the Springfield Police Department and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department to conduct two programs based on health and nutrition as well as sports and recreation. They will coach youth in athletic competitions and develop their coordination and leadership skills. This interaction, along with organized social activities, strengthens character, increases confidence and enhances the ability to relate well to members of law enforcement.

The secondary component stems from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America program, Project Learn, which reinforces the academic enrichment and school engagement of young people during their time at the Club. Through Project Learn, mentors will engage youth with homework help and targeted academic tutoring, high-yield learning and team building activities, leisure reading and incentive-based writing, and creative games that develop cognitive and analytic skills.

The mentoring program is an extension of the recreational activities that the Club currently offers youth through sports and play during the school year and summer. The program will target a minimum of 75 youth from the community. These children will enjoy participating in a variety of activities, all in a safe, affordable and accessible environment. During the program sessions, mentors will emphasize the development of critical character traits as well as the importance of building strong relationships with family and community partners.

For more information on Springfield Boys & Girls Club mentoring programs, contact Charles Hollins at (413) 732-7201 or hollins@sbgc.org

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