GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Green Bay high school graduation rates are on the rise, thanks in part to programming offered at the Boys and Girls Club.
Now, students have a new place to become college and career ready.
“The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay has a stigma that this is a place for those kids and we want to get away from that because this is a place for all kids” says Stephanie Nespoli, Director of Communication and Development for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay.
At the west side location that now includes a brand new college and career center for teens. “They will be able to have a great time, access all of our signature programs. Teens 2 work, which helps with career development, our Be Great, Graduate program and the other programs we offer to help better prepare them for their future” explains Eric Vanden Heuvel, the club’s Chief Academic Officer.
Graduation specialist Tori McNeal agrees explaining the staff will “help them with anything in school system or help them with life lessons. If they want to try out for a team and are not sure if they should, thats what that staff member would be there for”.
The new center is also a space to do homework and just be a teen.
“The pool table, the video games. We need that because that is what teens want. They need to come in after a long day at school, and need to relax” Vanden Heuvel explains.
For fifty years the club has provided a safe space for kids ages seven to 18. They learn through programs packaged as fun.
“From academic and career planning for their futures to healthy lifestyle and learning to cook and prepare meals” Nespoli explains.
The space used to house administrative offices. The club enlisted the help of its members to make the transformation happen.
Staff is excited to have the teens all in one spot. “If there is a student I know should be in a program I can just pop out and say hey you need to be here for this program” McNeal says.
Teens can access this center, and all the Boys and Girls Club programs for just ten dollars a year. “So many people think that the club is just a place to hang out or play basketball. It is so much more than that” Nespoli says. “They are coming in and learning real life skills that they can take with them for the rest of their lives”.
Leaders in Green Bay hope this new center creates a model for other clubs both locally and around the nation.
“We are going to look for ways to create this at our east side. We will have to get a little creative” Vanden Heuvel says.
Helping boys and girls, become successful young men and women.
To connect with the boys and girls club in your community click here: https://www.bgca.org/