Members of Evergreen Boys & Girls Clubs at Penns Manor School District 21st CCLC site are truly becoming better citizens through their involvement in our after school program. Though each member gains confidence in their academic skills and has their educational needs met, they are also learning valuable life skills to help them succeed as citizens, both inside and outside of the school setting.
Many of the students who attend our program find refuge from the day’s stressors at our Club. They feel safe, secure and most importantly accepted. Our members know they are entering a judgement-free zone and are treated equally. The members feel welcome to express their opinions and beliefs and learn ways to do so respectfully. They learn the necessary communication skills to effectively express their wants and needs. Our staff members strive to teach the members that all people are different and though they may not always like a person, they must show that person respect and treat them, as they would want to be treated. Without the guidance and example, the members see in our caring adult professionals, some may never experience these basic skills outside of our walls.
Through our daily interactions with each member, we come to learn their likes, dislikes, successes and failures, skills and abilities, and use this information to make each member feel wanted and help them use those talents and abilities to succeed both inside and outside of the school setting. We have personally witnessed the so-called “wall flower” step up and become a leader at Club and in the school, or try a new activity, like joining the school musical cast or even the cheerleading squad. We have members who belong to the Student Council and serve as student advocate to the School Board. We find our members take the lessons they learn with us and actively put them to use without any prompting needed.
The members learn a sense of self that is not taught during the normal school day. They learn skills such as doing their taxes, writing a check, balancing a checkbook. The members will one day be faced with these everyday things and remember that they were taught that “at Club” and will find it useful and perhaps a bit less scary.
Of course, we have many members who would have nowhere else to go after school, or would not be greeted by a friendly face, but our members show up for Club daily, eager for the attention they may not be getting elsewhere, and the attention our team of professionals is willing to give. Providing attention and time helps them succeed in the time they are not with us and provides them with something to look forward to in the days ahead.
Our program is a success because we are meeting the social/emotional needs of our members on a daily basis. We are giving them safe, caring environment where they can be themselves. It is a place where they are more than just a number. We are a success because each of our members is a success in his or her own way and we are fortunate to see their success stories from the very first step.