Stories from the Clubs - "Meet Ricky & Lane of Yazoo City"

Ricky is very quiet young man.  During the COVID-19 Pandemic, every time I did home visits I would ask about Ricky.  The BGC Yazoo Club has 4 out of the 6 children in this family.  Destiny who is five can start coming in October.  Jamar who just turned 3 will be able to come in less than 3 years.  Ricky is their uncle.   

When Covid hit in March 2020, I was doing a home visit which we also call "Wellness Checks".  Members missed the snacks from the Club.  During their next visit I bought them some healthy snacks.  Their mom works at Nissan in Canton and their dad is a “jack of all trade” working a variety of jobs. 

When their grandmother passed-away I took the family pizza.  The mom was making funeral arrangements and didn't have to worry about feeding her children.  

Ricky is already a leader at the Club and teaches a one-hour class on bike maintenance.  Everyone had to research using iPad and Chrome books, and put together a short speech.  I looked up and saw Ricky’s pictures and he was writing his speech.  I asked him “how did you get my printer to print from your iPad?”    

Puzzled by my question Ricky looked up at me and said “I didn't.”  He had drawn his own pictures.  I was surprised how detailed his drawings where.   

The next day he asks for tools to do his presentation on bike maintenance.  He kept the members interested.  His favorite part was when I told him to draw from the list of boys participating in the class. He scrambled up their names in his cap and pulled out a single name. It was an exciting moment for all the boys as one of them got to keep the bike. 

Ricky and his friend Lane (who has become our computer guy) lead a robotics project for Club members.  They set up a racetrack for the members to compete.   

Lane loves our new 3-D printer.  Ricky said “I can do that too!” and they both did 3-D printer projects and ENJOYED IT.  I had no idea. I thought it was over the member’s head.  Ricky and Lane are both planning on helping others learn to use the 3-D printer this fall during our afterschool program.  

Ricky, the quiet guy in the corner, was full of surprises.  He is so smart!!  When I ask him how he knew how to operate the 3-D printer?  He said he “Googled it and thought one day I am going to get a chance to use one” and this summer he did.    

From our Walmart donation I gave him a box of 24 colored pencils, a box of No. 2 pencils, and three drawing tablets and told him, "I believe in You".    

Ricky is hooked on the BGC Yazoo Club.  He said he is coming back this fall. Our Teen Center is growing!! BGC of Yazoo City is growing!!!  We are looking forward to great things this fall!!!   

- By Yazoo City Unit Director, Judy Ables


The Benefits of of After School Programs

The Benefits of Afterschool Programs

This fall, children are returning to schools for in-person learning for the first time in a year and a half. That means parents around the country must once again figure out care for their kids after school lets out every day. For some, this means having family members watch children, hiring a nanny or babysitter, or taking off work early to pick your child up yourself. Not everyone has the flexibility, time, or money for some of these options, but afterschool programs provide a safe, convenient alternative that is beneficial for both you and your child. Here are some of the benefits of afterschool programs:

  • Help With Homework - Many afterschool programs provide assistance with homework for students who may need help. This ensures that children receive the support they need, fully understand their assignments, and don’t have to figure it all out on their own.
  • Social Interactions - Attending an afterschool program also allows your child to interact with their friends and fellow students outside of learning hours. This is helpful for children as they are able to form new friendships, learn how to communicate with both adults and other children, and develop other social skills that wouldn’t be possible if they were at home after school.
  • Physical Activity - Afterschool programs often include sports, games, and playtime, so your child can get physical activity while they are waiting to be picked up. This is good for both their physical and mental health as they get an outlet to get moving.
  • Positive Behaviors - A major benefit of afterschool programs is that they help encourage positive behaviors in children. After school lets out, some children have no supervision until their parents get home from work, which makes it one of the most common times for kids to get into trouble, including experimenting with drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. However, afterschool programs provide structure and supervision that help children develop positive behaviors. This results in children performing better academically, staying out of trouble, eating more nutritious snacks, and being healthier overall.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to serve the children in our communities, especially as students return to schools for in-person learning. One of the ways we do this is through our afterschool programs which provide homework help, fitness activities, workforce development, literacy activities, and more. Each of our Clubs provides kids with a safe place to play, learn, exercise, and receive nutritious foods. Find out how you can get involved with our organization by signing your child up for a club or afterschool program, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!




The 9 Things That Should Be On Your Back-to-School Supplies List!

The 9 Things That Should Be On Your Back-to-School Supplies List

Each year, August brings the end of summer vacation and a return to school for students all across the country. While returning to school is a normal occurrence, this year it is more significant because it marks the first time that most students will be returning to in-person learning at school in over a year. This means they get to see their favorite teachers, their friends, and interact with other students every day. It also means that students will need some new supplies as they head back to the classroom. Here are 9 things that should be on your back-to-school supplies list:

  • Hand Sanitizer and Facial Tissues - Returning to in-person schooling is an exciting time for students, but it’s also crucial to make sure your child is safe while at school. Pick up some hand sanitizer and facial tissues so they always have them handy. This way they can practice good hygiene and stay healthy throughout the school year.
  • Masks - Regardless of whether your school district is mandating that students wear masks while at school, providing your child with plenty of masks to wear will help keep them safe and healthy as they return to the classroom.
  • Writing Utensils - With most of the learning over the last year and a half being done online, students might not have used standard school supplies like pens and pencils. Now is a great time to restock on your writing utensil supplies, and make sure those pencils are #2!
  • Pencil Bag or Box - After you purchase new writing utensils for your child, they’re going to need a place to store them. Pick up a new pencil bag or box so they can easily carry around all of their writing supplies and keep them organized.
  • Notebooks and Paper - With all of those new writing utensils, your student is going to need something to write on. The next things to pick up are notebooks and loose-leaf paper. Your child’s teacher should let you know exactly what specifications you’ll need for notebooks and paper.
  • Folders and Binders - Next, pick up some folders and binders to help keep your student organized and on top of all their subjects. These will help your child keep track of all of their notebooks, papers, and assignments while also making it easier to transport them.
  • Backpack - While learning from home over the past year and a half, your child didn’t need to worry about carrying things between your home and school. Now that they are returning to school, consider picking up a new backpack to ensure they can easily transport all their new supplies.
  • Lunchbox - Just like a backpack, a lunchbox was probably unnecessary for your child at home while learning online. A return to in-person schooling means a return to them needing lunches every day. Picking up a new lunchbox will make sure your child gets a healthy, nutritious lunch for every school day.
  • Arts and Crafts Supplies - Depending on your child’s age, you may have to pick up arts and craft supplies as well. These include things like scissors, glue, crayons, and markers. With these supplies, you can assure that your child has everything they need for all of their different school projects.
  • Make sure to consult with your child's class supply list! - These are often posted in school supply areas in local retailers.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to serve the children in our communities, especially as students return to schools for in-person learning. One of the ways we do this is through our afterschool programs which provide homework help, fitness activities, workforce development, literacy activities, and more. Each of our Clubs provides kids with a safe place to play, learn, exercise, and receive nutritious foods. Find out how you can get involved with our organization by signing your child up for a club or afterschool program, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!




The Disadvantages of Single-Parent Homes

The Disadvantages of Single-Parent Homes

 

The United States leads the world with nearly 10 million single-parent households, and 23% of children under the age of 18 living with a single parent. While each family’s situation is different, studies show that children raised in single-parent homes tend to face more struggles than children from homes with two parents. Here are some of the disadvantages of single-parent homes:

 

  • Less Money - Single parents often earn less money than two parents. This can lead to issues like food insecurity, not being able to provide children with necessities, not having access to the internet, and can even cause a slip into poverty. 

 

  • Lack of Quality Time, Help, and Attention - Single parents often have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet and are therefore not always available to their children. These opposing schedules can create a lack of quality time spent together, can lead to the parent not being around when the child needs help, or cause the child to not receive much attention and to spend much time on their own. 

 

 

  • Health and Behavioral Issues - Single parents often have to do a lot on their own, so issues can arise with their children’s health and behavior since there is no extra support to help with parenting. Children in single-parent homes can often feel a sense of loss due to the fact that a parent is absent from their lives. These feelings can impact how the child behaves and even lead to issues like aggressive behavior.

 

 

  • Future Issues - Children of single parents are more likely to have issues that continue to affect their lives as they grow up, such as educational attainment and occupational status. While not always the case, growing up in a single-parent home is associated with socioeconomic disadvantages for the child throughout their life.

 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to serve the children in our communities, especially those suffering from poverty. Over 60% of youth in the Delta live below the poverty line, while 78% of our club members live in single-parent homes, and 98% of our members qualify for Free & Reduced Lunch at school. Each of our clubs provides kids with a safe place to play, learn, exercise, and receive nutritious foods. Find out how you can get involved with our organization by signing your child up for a club, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!




The Effects of Poverty on Children

The Effects of Poverty on Children

 

Poverty is a widespread issue with many damaging effects on those who experience it. In the United States, 10.5% of all citizens (34 million) suffer from poverty. Poverty is especially detrimental to children who experience it. There are over 74 million children under the age of 18 in the U.S. and 14.4% of them (over 10 million kids) live below the poverty line.  Here are the effects poverty has on children:

 

  • Nutrition - Poverty often leaves families without enough food to properly feed their children. This affects the amount and quality of food that kids living in poverty receive, which can impact their physical development, ability to fight off diseases and illnesses, and their overall health. It is common for kids suffering from poverty to receive most of their food while at school.

 

  • Academics - Poverty also impacts the academic performance of children and furthers the achievement gap. This is caused by multiple factors, such as under-resourced schools in impoverished communities, high drop-out rates, and difficulty concentrating and retaining information due to stress associated with living in poverty. These academic struggles also further the cycle of poverty because kids are unable to lift themselves out of poverty due to their inadequate education.

 

  • Security - Poverty also affects the security of children, as impoverished communities tend to have higher rates of crime and violence. This can impact the experiences children have in their own neighborhoods and potentially cause them to end up in unsafe situations. 

 

  • Homelessness - Poverty can also push families into homelessness, which affects the stability a child has (and needs) in their life. This takes away a child’s opportunity to have a real childhood, and can also affect whether they stay in school, get enough food, or are able to stay safe and healthy.

 

  • Health - Poverty can have a big impact on the health of children, affecting their growth and development, their access to healthcare and medicine, their likelihood of developing chronic illnesses, and their overall mental health and stress levels.

 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to serve the children in our communities, especially those suffering from poverty. Over 60% of youth in the Delta live below the poverty line, while 78% of our club members live in single-parent homes, and 98% of our members qualify for Free & Reduced Lunch at school. Each of our clubs provides kids with a safe place to play, learn, exercise, and receive nutritious foods. Find out how you can get involved with our organization by signing your child up for a club, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!




What is Summer Learning Loss?

What Is Summer Learning Loss?

 

Kids look forward to summer for a number of reasons like going to the pool, playing outside, going on vacation, and, usually at the top of the list, taking a break from school. However, while breaks are sometimes good, the nearly three-month summer break from school can actually lead to something called summer learning loss. Here’s what summer learning loss is and how it can be prevented. 

 

Summer learning loss, also known as the summer slide, is when students regress while out of school in the summer and return in the fall at a lower academic level than when they left. Put simply, since they are not in school learning, they are not stimulating their minds and retaining the information they have already learned. This can lead to students falling behind and contribute to the achievement gap since summer learning loss especially affects children from low-income families.

 

Oxford Learning shares statistics on summer learning loss when no learning occurs during the summer:

 

  • 1 month of overall learning is lost
  • 2 months of reading skills are lost
  • 2 months of math skills are lost
  • It can take 2 months in the fall for students to recover from summer learning loss and re-learn what they lost

 

According to a study in the American Educational Research Journal, some students can even lose the majority of their learning gains from the previous school year. So, how can you prevent summer learning loss?

 

The first step is to make a plan for your child’s summer and stick to it. The plan should include 2-3 hours of learning every week and should incorporate reading books, activities using math, and other recreational activities that are still fun but involve critical thinking. Some examples of activities are:

 

  • A summer reading program with a certain number of books for the summer
  • Online and offline math games
  • Playing board games that use math skills
  • Going to zoos, museums, and nature experiences
  • Signing them up for camps, especially ones with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) focus
  • Letting them join a youth program in your area

You also want to let your child enjoy their summer by playing outside and interacting with other children. The learning activities should not stress them out but should be something enjoyable that will also help prevent summer learning loss.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to stimulate the minds of kids and prevent summer learning loss through our summer programs like Summer Brain Gain, Project Learn, and DIY STEM. Additionally, we offer our Summer Brain Gain: Read! literacy program to complement the larger Summer Brain Gain curriculum. We also supply Chromebooks and Amazon Fire Tablets for dedicated use by each member at their specific Club. Find out how to get involved by signing your child up, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!




Trends in Childhood Obesity

How to Prevent Childhood Obesity

 

Obesity is a disease that occurs when an individual has a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC’s growth charts. The disease is problematic because it puts people at far greater risk for other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer risk, and more. 

 

Obesity has been on the rise in the United States for decades, but it is becoming increasingly prevalent in children. According to the CDC, nearly 20% of children between the ages of 2-19 (~ 15 million) suffer from obesity, with the majority of them being Black or Hispanic. This has created an epidemic for our younger generations, but even more so for minority communities. Here’s how to prevent childhood obesity:

 

  1. Healthy Eating Habits - Teach your children healthy eating habits like portion control, only eating at set meal times, and avoiding unhealthy snack temptations. Make sure to provide them with a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

 

 

  • Plenty of Activity - It’s also important to make sure your child gets plenty of exercise. This can be done by being active together as a family, signing them up for a sports team, or letting them play outside in your neighborhood with other kids. No matter what it is, the key is to make sure they get moving.

 

 

  1. Limit Sedentary Behavior - Limit sedentary behavior like watching TV, browsing the internet, or playing video games. Each can still be enjoyed, but provide limits for your child and stick to them.

 

  1. Healthy Sleeping Routine - Getting too little sleep can cause obesity by making us tired, which contributes to us wanting to eat more and be less physically active. Help your child develop a healthy sleeping routine by going to bed at the same time every night, limiting screen time before bed, and making sure they get enough sleep each night.

 

The easiest way to keep your child healthy is to practice healthy habits as a family since parents are the main role models for children. What you do will determine what your child does now and as they grow up.

 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to combat childhood obesity and keep kids healthy with our fitness programs like Triple Play and SMARTMoves. We believe teaching kids about healthy eating and fitness habits will help them have sustained success now and in the future. Find out how to get involved by signing your child up, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!





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Yazoo City, MS 39194
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