17 reasons why this is the best after-school program for kids

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(File Photo/Federated Media)

Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart builds Great Futures in Elkhart County by providing kids with unique experiences and opportunities they may not get anywhere else. Donate $25 to the Elkhart club today to help build more Great Futures in Elkhart.

By: Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart

1. STEM mentoring program

Boys & Girls Club is a great place to have fun, but there’s also a lot of educational opportunities. There are several community members who work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields in Elkhart County who volunteer to mentor Boys & Girls Club members for an entire year.

2. Marketplace Experiences

Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County members have opportunities to take special trips throughout the year, crowdfunded through the Club’s Marketplace website. Recently, Elkhart Club members were able to go to a South Bend Cubs game. Other activities are added throughout the year.

3. Community service

One way to build Great Futures is by giving back — and the kids at Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County have a lot of opportunities to give back to the community. Kids can join Torch Club (for middle school students) or Keystone Club (for high school students) and get opportunities to volunteer with charities throughout the community and learn leadership skills.

4. Michiana Youth Sports League

Any kid who wants to play sports at Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County will have an opportunity while they’re at the Club. Teens can be part of the Michiana Youth Sports League. Kids can join teams for co-ed softball and soccer, boys volleyball and basketball, girls volleyball and basketball and all-ages track meets, fishing tournaments and bowling teams.

MYSL teams travel to compete with other Clubs in Elkhart County as well as Plymouth Clubs, Lifeline, The Children’s Campus and Bashor Children’s Home. Depending on how many kids are interested in being on a team, the active roster will change often to give every kid a chance to play in a game.

5. Dot Divas

Girls have a chance to learn about different fields of science, especially fields where women are underrepresented in the workforce. The girls in Dot Divas complete engineering projects, learn about media and technology, learn computer coding and create a video game.

6. Club Cuisine

Every Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart member is served a snack and/or a meal while they’re at the Club… and some kids actually get to MAKE food. Kids can join Club Cuisine to learn how to cook different foods with adult supervision and help. Teenagers who are interested in pursuing culinary school after graduating high school can jump-start their education by learning different techniques.

7. Passport to Manhood

This multi-week program for teenage boys teaches boys that they are on a journey of growth. Each week, boys participate in a character-building activity that they can document on their “passport” to becoming young men.

8. Homework assistance

If kids need help with homework, they can ask Club staff members for help. Many members like to get their homework done as soon as they get to the Club so that they can spend the rest of their time playing with friends or participating in one of the Club’s programs. 

9. Urban Music Club

Kids who have a passion for music have the chance to make their own. Kids learn how to write their own music, produce a song and even market their music to an audience.

10. Indiana Kids

This state-supported program is a great opportunity for elementary, middle and high school students to get ready for a career or college while learning how to give back to their community. There’s also a focus on doing well in school.

11. Unique art projects

Artistic kids can learn how to paint and draw and then get into more advanced projects, such as cross stitching. Boys & Girls Club kids can even join Art Club and learn different types of fine art.

12. SMART Girls

This program for girls ages 8 to 18 aims to help girls build high self-esteem, learn how to develop positive relationships and live a healthy lifestyle. Everything centers around helping girls be confident in themselves and giving them opportunities to build positive values.

13. Financial literacy programs for kids and parents

Having a Great Future involves managing money, but this skill isn’t commonly taught. Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County offers financial literacy classes both for Club members and their parents. These are skills that can be used immediately to build Great Futures.

14. Mental health services

Through the Partnership for Children, members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County have access to free mental health services if they need them.

15. Fitness clubs

This isn’t like gym class at school — these are specific clubs for boys and girls where they can exercise in a girl-only or boy-only environment. It’s totally private, which makes kids more comfortable when doing yoga, aerobics or other exercises.

16. Science projects

Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County members have a chance to take part in welding and mechanics, as well as science projects. Over the summer, a group of Club members painted different parts of flowers and then planted flowers in cups. After the flowers bloomed, the kids dissected the different parts of the flowers to see what was inside.

17. Summer educational programming

Each Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County location hosted multi-week programs over the summer. Each week featured fun activities that also served an educational purpose so that kids could continue learning while school was out for the summer.

You can help Boys & Girls Club provide more opportunities for kids in Elkhart. Donate $25 to the new Elkhart club today!

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