Teen years play a vital role in establishing how you think about yourself and how you view the world. It’s why Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore (BGCMB) puts so much effort into crafting a teen program that helps guide our teens as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. With support from organizations including Lowes, Taco Bell, Truist, and Toyota we empower youth to explore their passions, develop their employability skills and apply their knowledge to real-world work experiences.
For teens Kalil H., Davon F., and Kevin L., the Club has already made everlasting impressions on their lives.
“The thing I like the most about [the Club] is it keeps kids off the street, not being in violence. It’s somewhere you can be safe at,” said Kalil.
At our O’Donnell Heights Club, teen programming takes place every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesdays center on SMART Moves, which teaches healthy decision-making and social-emotional skills. Wednesdays focus on workforce readiness including goal setting, resume writing, public speaking, and interview etiquette. And on Thursdays, the Club implements Keystone, a leadership program in which teens gain valuable leadership experience through service learning.
Workforce readiness has already paid dividends for our teens with several members successfully acquiring jobs. “[Club staff] help us get ready for interviews. They tell us about clothing, what we need to tell them about ourselves, and everything in between,” said Davon. “It helped me get my job at Five Guys. For example, they told me not to get too personal during interviews and to make sure I’m presentable and my energy is right.”
But before we can connect teens with employment opportunities, we have to get them to the Club. For this, we offer opportunities for teens to explore their passions (e.g. basketball, music, illustration). It’s these activities that motivate teens to choose the Club as the place they spend their precious time and energy.
Youth development professionals who listen to our teens and take genuine interest in their passions is what helped Kevin become a regular at our O’Donnell Heights Club. “I was interested in music and I still am. I talked to [Ms. Asia] about my interest, and we started talking about making a studio at the Club. One thing led to another, and they made it happen,” said Kevin who continues to mix his own music inside the Club’s studio when he’s not working as a member of our Junior Staff.
In the months ahead, BGCMB will strengthen and amplify our teen programs to ensure more young people like Kevin have the skills to graduate from high school and be well-positioned for Great Futures.