READING, PA — As part of a nationwide effort to promote the importance of positive adult mentors the Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading and Berks County (www.olivetbgc.org) has been selected to receive a grant from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) totaling approximately $110,000 ($74,000 from National Boys & Girls Club of America and $36,000 from National PAL).
The grant will serve 124 youth through mentoring, community service, and college/career exploration at 5 Club locations (Mulberry, Clinton, PAL, Center for the Arts, Pendora).
The OJP funding comes at a time when research confirms the importance of positive adult role models for young people facing escalating levels of negative peer pressure, coupled with the steady uptick in the number of single-parent households. Olivet is looking to recruit 40 mentors who are able to dedicate 4 hours per month for 1 year. Mentors have the option of 1 hour per week or 2 hours every other week.
“We are extremely grateful for the $110,000 grant from the Office of Justice Programs that will assist us in creating a great future for youth who are in need of a caring adult in their life,” said Pablo Tejada, president and Chief Professional Officer of the Olivet Boys & Girls Club. “This grant will enable us to provide even more positive opportunities and role models for our Club members. Our kids need a nurturing environment to feel safe and cared for—they need to know that after school, they can come to the Club and get the support that they need to prepare for graduation, give back to their community, and get fit for life.”
The grant will allow the Olivet to offer incentives for club members to participate in activities such as mentoring, SMART Leaders, SMART Girls, Passport to Manhood, Power Hour, volunteerism, college readiness activities, and a wide array of fun and engaging activities.
Olivet’s College Access Program provides teen members with the opportunity to participate in educational workshops in interest and skill inventory, application assistance, financial aid assistance, SAT preparation and provide several opportunities to visit college and university campuses.
Among the full range of youth development programs available at every Clubhouse is Power Hour which emphasizes the importance of high-yield learning activities during the critical out-of-school hours. Research has shown that journal writing, cooking classes and managing a Club snack shop help young people understand the importance and relevance of an education, resulting in a lifelong love of learning.
The Olivet Boys & Girls Club has adopted the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) Formula for Impact, a researched-based theory of offering the most powerful experience during the out-of-school hours by providing programs geared to ensure academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles among the young people who need the most, but have the least.
In addition, the OJP grant funding will allow Olivet to continue partnering with other local nonprofits, colleges, churches, and businesses to create a “Pathway for a Great Future” initiative for Club members. These partnerships provide an excellent complement to the overall goal of empowering inner-city teens to take charge of their own futures and to end this vicious cycle of poverty.