The Boys & Girls Club of Benton County enables and inspires youth to reach their full potential in a safe an nurturing environment, especially who most need us.
The Boys and Girls Club of Benton County (B&GC) has enabled and inspired youth to reach their full potential in a safe and nurturing environment for the past 24 years. We operate four facilities in the three main population centers of Benton County.
Our programs have a measurable impact on the youth we serve. In annual outcome evaluations, children report they have better skills to make good food choices and parents report that their children are more active since joining. Our kids report being more committed to school than their Benton County peers. Of children who have been suspended from school, there is a reduction in suspensions of 60.2% after joining the B&GC. Since 2009, 99.4% of B&GC kids have passed to their next grade on time. B&GC kids report: using drugs at a rate of 19% less and alcohol at a rate of 24% less, having opportunities for pro-social involvement at a 27% greater rate, and having positive peer associations at a 19% greater rate than their non-B&GC peers. A 2010 economic impact report showed that for every dollar invested in the B&GC, there is a $3.92 return on investment.
The programs also have less measurable impacts, like the story of Austin. When Austin was five years old, his father gave up on the family. His dad's departure left big shoes for a little man to fill. His family struggled financially having only one working parent. When he was six years old his house burned down; the family lost everything. His mom did the best she could to provide for three children. He remembers jumping from food pantry to food pantry to secure food for their next meal. The family moved to Northwest Arkansas (NWA) in hopes of getting away from drugs, crime, and the lack of opportunity. That's when he found the Boys & Girls Club of Benton County. His problems didn't go away when he moved to NWA, but the game changed. He now had the Club to walk with him and support him through some of the hardest times in his life. The Club was a place "where I could come and hang the weight of the world and just be a kid. My Club accepted me no matter what I looked like or how I dressed." But his story doesn't end here. Though the club was a great support system, "I still made mistakes during my high school career. I left the club and got involved in the wrong crowd and made decisions that were destructive to me and my family. I was heading straight for jail. I saw how my bad decisions affected my relationship with my mom and family. At the end of my sophomore year, I came back to the one thing that I knew could help me get my priorities back in line, my Club." Austin was elected by his peers as president of the Keystone Club, a service-learning character and leadership group. He is now finishing his senior year and is on track to go the Air Force Academy and major in aerospace engineering.
Where We Work
What We Do
It is our goal to develop healthy children who are successful in school and make positive life choices. In health programs youth learn how to keep fit and eat right. Daily, kids participate in Fitness Challenges that are an appropriate exercise duration and intensity. Along with their parents, youth attend the Cooking Matters nutrition education course and learn how to choose and prepare nutritious meals. Kids compete in Athletic leagues in volleyball, basketball, football, and cheer. Kids also have free play time on one of three playgrounds at the facilities. Youth learn oral care in a Dental Hygiene class and periodic dental and vision screenings are offered. Our academic support program consists of high yield learning activities. Youth get after school assistance with their homework, create art works; are involved in STEM activities, plant and maintain community gardens, or do independent reading and writing projects. To prevent summer learning loss, economically disadvantaged children are enrolled in a Summer Camp offering math and reading assistance. Older youth explore careers and prepare for postsecondary education. Character and leadership programs teach valuable social and life skills. In the games room children learn teamwork and sportsmanship. SMART Moves resistance training teaches kids how to overcome peer pressure and media influence. Service learning programs enable youth to take leadership roles and give back to their community in service projects. Money Matters financial education teaches kids to save and build assets.