Nearly 240 years ago, our forefathers declared that all men are created equal and endowed with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, rights that represent the promise of equal opportunities for all of our great nation’s citizens. The bedrock of the American Dream is the idea that anything is possible through hard work, education, and determination. And while the mere mention of Independence Day can summon blissful memories of bursting fireworks and smoking grills, band-led parades and flag-waving kids, there are far too many children today who don’t have these opportunities and may never make these memories.
The statistics are sobering:
- 11 million youth have no adult support after school
- 16 million youth live in poverty
- 45% of children in America live in a low-income household
- 1 in 5 high school students fails to graduate on time
Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe, affordable place for young people during the critical out-of-school time. Clubs help teens:
- Lead healthy lifestyles and avoid risky behaviors (88% of 12th graders who attend the Club regularly report they abstain from marijuana use, 22% higher than the national average*)
- Graduate from high school on time with a solid plan for the future (74% of regularly attending Club members ages 12 to 17 from low-income families report they get A’s and B’s in school, 10% higher than the national average*)
- Realize their potential as productive citizens (66% of 12th graders who attend the Club regularly report they volunteer at least once a week, compared to 29% nationally *)
More than 4,200 Boys & Girls Clubs across America and on U.S. military installations worldwide offer life-changing programs and services to our nation’s kids and teens. In fact, more than half of Boys & Girls Club alumni say the Club “saved my life.”
As you celebrate America this weekend by honoring those who made our freedom possible, please remember the thousands of volunteers who create great futures for our nation’s children.
President and CEO
Boys & Girls Clubs of America