The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury will announce receipt of a Youth Violence Prevention Initiative Grant from the State of Connecticut for the 2018-19 fiscal year on Monday, September 17, 2018, at 4:30 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club. In attendance will be State Representatives Stephanie Cummings, Larry Butler, Tony D’Amelio, Jeff Berger and Geraldo Reyes, and State Senator Joan Hartley, who were instrumental in the passage of Public Act 18-81 which included Waterbury in the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.
The Boys & Girls Club provides members with a healthy and safe environment that aims to empower teens to make good choices while reducing violence among youth. Club programs provide youth the opportunity to learn and develop new skills and interests, including sports, technology and art, during a critical part of the day. Providing exposure and opportunities to anti-bullying, anti-violence and life-skills programing opens youth to new possibilities and helps them find positive ways to spend their time while also allowing them to consider and explore positive futures – both school and career. Keeping students occupied in the after-school hours is proven to reduce at-risk behaviors including violence, substance use and sexual activity. The Youth Services Prevention Initiative and Youth Violence Prevention Grant will serve to ensure that members have a safe, positive environment to learn, forge supportive relationships among their peers and have opportunities, expectations and recognition.
“The Boys and Girls Club does incredible work for the kids of our community and I can think of no better organization to receive this grant money,” Rep. D’Amelio said. “I’m confident these funds will be used to continue their mission of providing engaging programming to help our kids make positive life decisions and to avoid the pitfalls of drugs, gangs and violence that harm so many.”
“I’m proud to see these funds being used to directly benefit the youth of our city and to help the Boys and Girls Club continue their good work to reduce violence and increase opportunity for kids across the region,” Rep. Cummings said. “Providing structured programming and offering safe alternatives means our youth will be exposed to productive pursuits like getting help with education and job training, and fewer kids will get caught up in gang violence. This grant is good for the Boys and Girls Club and great for the children of Waterbury.”
“I’m glad that the Boys and Girls Club as well as other organizations serving youths will be able to take advantage of these new funds and continue to offer programs for the betterment of our children,” Rep. Butler said. “It is critically important that we support our local groups. The programs they offer provide a wide range of meaningful, after-school activities that help build character for children and serve as a foundation for the rest of their lives, while keeping them safe from bad, outside influences. “I’m very happy we were able to secure this funding.”
“Waterbury is a better place for kids and families because of the work of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury,” Rep. Reyes said. “When we invest in youth, we invest in our future.”
“The funds awarded to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Waterbury could not be more essential to the youth of our community,” Rep. Berger said. “As we continue to battle against youth violence, organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club are essential to keep kids from getting caught in gang violence through positive guides them while offering necessary resources. With their continued focus on creating a safe and supportive environment for youth combined with these funds, the Boys and Girls Club is offering a thriving future to our youth and our community.”
“Of all the varied and numerous services provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury none is more crucial than the club’s Youth Violence Prevention initiative,” Sen. Hartley said. “In recognition of this work I am pleased to support Waterbury’s inclusion, and specifically the Boys & Girls Club’s inclusion, in the State’s Youth Violence Prevention program.”
The grant money is being earmarked for several purposes, including adding a new staff member to bolster current anti-violence programs with middle and high school kids. It will also implement the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America Gang and Violence Prevention “Street SMART” and “SMART Girls” programs which help youth resist gang involvement and violence and use conflict management strategies to develop social-emotional learning and healthy relationship skills. Other uses for the funds include making sure staff continues to receive updated and specialized training, and adding new homework and computer tables to better serve kids of all ages.
For over 128 years, the Boys & Girls of Greater Waterbury has been committed to its mission: by providing a wide range of educational and recreational opportunities, a safe environment, and supportive relationships, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury helps young people who need it most discover their interests, have a positive outlook for their future, and be confident, successful stewards of their communities. The Club provides a safe, fun and high-impact after school environment that prioritizes healthy lifestyles, academic success, character and leadership through programs designed to give young people the tools to succeed. Learn more at www.bgcgwater.org and www.facebook.com/BoysGirlsClubGW/.