HOUSTON, March 31, 2020 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston (BGCGH) has launched ON DEMAND Club Experience, a virtual platform providing innovative, at-home learning for Club members to help fill the educational gap and associated learning loss during the COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative allows children and teens under Houston’s current stay-at-home order to participate in online activities from BGCGH’s four core program areas – Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, Good Character and Citizenship, and Workforce Readiness.
School districts in the greater Houston region, which remain closed due to community spread from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), have shifted toward distance learning to ensure students’ academic needs are met. However, similar to the summer months, it is anticipated that “Pandemic Learning Loss” will cause a forfeiture in knowledge and skills already developed by students this school year due to the extended time out of school and delays in bringing new learning methods online. That’s where ON DEMAND steps in.
“During this public health crisis, it is critical that our youth have access to quality programming to keep them stimulated, engaged and mentally sharp,” says Kevin Hattery, BGCGH President and CEO. “ON DEMAND Club Experience fulfills this role, and we encourage parents and kids to take advantage of our excellent tool to help mitigate any learning loss. We are augmenting the distance learning already going on through their individual schools by providing an additional outlet for academics, fitness and creativity, along with workforce readiness for teens.”
While youth are not physically able to attend a Boys & Girls Club due to CDC and public health officials’ recommendations limiting groups larger than 10 people, ON DEMAND Club Experience supports their academic progress during the current extended educational gap. This dovetails with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston’s role as the area’s leading youth development organization, helping members to “build great futures.”
Each day for ON DEMAND, a YouTube video with a specific focus in one of the program areas is uploaded to the BGCGH website. Topics include STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), the arts, literacy, fitness, character building and more. For example, an art project demonstrates how to create a mask, while “STEAM Works” shows how to construct a D-I-Y oven from a pizza box, foil, tape and a glass bowl.
Additionally, specific programming for teens is included to bolster workforce readiness like resume building, career planning, interviewing skills, and professional behaviors.
The activities for students incorporate supplies commonly found at home but offer alternative suggestions to help kids participate if they do not have the exact items on hand. BGCGH Youth Development Staff assign courses/activities for members and provide a timeline for completion on their laptops, tablets or mobile devices. To encourage and reward kids for participation, staff members track progress each week and award badges as outlined in the curriculum.
Sponsors that have helped make the program possible include Conoco Phillips, Holthouse Foundation for Kids, Mas Restaurant Group, Phillips 66, Sysco and Wells Fargo.
About Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston
Our mission is to inspire and enable all youth, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Our vision is to put success within reach for our Club members and keep them on track to graduate high school. We help them realize a positive plan for the future that includes good character, citizenship, workforce readiness and a healthy lifestyle. Each year, more than 26,000 youth ages 6 to 17 walk through our doors for our after-school and summer programs. At our Clubs, youth are provided meals, strong role models, homework assistance, organized athletics, character development and access to the arts. Membership costs just $5 per school-year and $20 for the entire summer. We are a United Way agency. Great Futures Start Here.