Boys & Girls Club changes lives

Published 12:32 am Sunday, March 30, 2008

It all started in 1860, when three women from Hartford, Conn., decided to take in some “street urchins” — undernourished, dirty-faced young boys with little more than ragged clothes on their backs, the hard-luck, forgotten kids of the Industrial Revolution.

They didn’t know it then, but these caring ladies were the planting seeds of what would become a true American success story. Their idea took root as Boys’ Clubs, which soon began to sprout throughout New England and eventually across the nation.

By 1906, 53 independent clubs were operating. The local leaders decided a national federation was needed to further the important mission of reaching out to children in need. They established the Federated Boys’ Clubs, which later became Boys’ Clubs of America.

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Fast forward to 2008. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Miss-Lou, is a network of 4,000 locations around the nation and on U.S. military bases here and abroad. It is a remarkable tale that truly reflects the very story of America through the 20th century. Throughout this year, we will tell the story in our own community — the lives changed and saved, the kids who conquered overwhelming odds to succeed, the caring individuals and supporters who make it all possible.

As we celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week this week, we pause to thank the many caring people who make our mission a reality:

4Dedicated club professionals who devote their lives to guiding our young people every day like our Executive Director Fay Minor.

4The countless, generous individuals — club board volunteers and donors — who support our work through their selfless commitment of time, talent and treasure.

The caring businesses and government leaders who actively partner with us to reach the kids and families that need the benefit of a Boys & Girls Club.

And the families and parents who, every day, entrust to us America’s most precious natural resources: our young people.

In our second century of providing hope and opportunity, we are committed to being the “Positive Place” for the young people of the Miss-Lou, and in doing so, changing lives, changing our community, and changing America.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Miss-Lou hope you will join us in celebrating National Boys& Girls Club Week, a week of hope and opportunity for the entire community.

Thank you for making it possible.

John Ball is the Board President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Miss-Lou.