ATLANTA, May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) today announced a new effort to engage millions of youth in community service over the next five years. Supported by the Citi Foundation, the Million Members, Million Hours of Service initiative will enable Clubs around the nation to involve children in service learning projects that can help them become successful and productive citizens.
Studies show that young people who engage in service do better in school, maintain positive relationships with adults and avoid risky behaviors. These students are also less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to graduate than their peers who do not serve. Million Members, Million Hours of Service will help Clubs increase the number of youth participating in volunteer and service projects to 1 million members each donating at least one hour of service in a single year.
"If every Club member donated just one hour of their time, it could equal a tremendous impact for local communities as well as the nation as a whole," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "We are grateful to partners like the Citi Foundation that will help our Clubs achieve this ambitious goal. Their support will not only benefit the members who volunteer their time, but also improve thousands of communities."
Million Members, Million Hours of Service will also provide information and ideas to inspire families to volunteer together or help kids in their lives give back to their community. Families can visit www.GreatFutures.org/millionhours for tips and ideas to help engage children in service. The public can also share their photos of service initiatives through Facebook or twitter with the hash tag #1hourequals.
The initiative complements the Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress, which seeks to improve the career readiness of 100,000 youth across the United States by helping them develop workplace skills and leadership experiences through a range of activities, including service learning.
"Volunteer service not only creates measurable improvements and strengthens communities, but it also can provide participants with meaningful learning and skills-building experiences that can inform their lifelong professional ambitions," said Brandee McHale, chief operating officer of the Citi Foundation. "Creating opportunities for the next generation to understand the importance of service has the potential to inspire youth to sustain a lifetime of volunteerism."
In 2013, more than 260,000 Club members participated in community service and service learning projects. In 2013, the Citi Foundation granted the organization $250,000 to build the infrastructure of the new initiative, which will help increase the number of Club members involved in community service and service learning projects by 25 percent.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a "More than Philanthropy" approach, Citi's business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America