Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Expands Impact Thanks to Flexible Funding

The Giving Coast

More than two years into the coronavirus pandemic, children still remain affected by the prolonged loss of classroom learning, leading to academic and developmental setbacks. However, local youth-serving organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties have been resilient champions in reversing these effects. During the beginning of the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Clubs kept their doors open to children of first-responders and other essential employees to allow parents to continue serving the community at its greatest time of need. Since then, the organization has continued to expand its services thanks to flexible funding from the community. A $250,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation was awarded earlier this year towards flexible funding to support the organization’s operations, programming, and scholarships for Club members. With six locations throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, each community has different needs and, with the still present pandemic, things are liable to change throughout the year. Afterschool programs like the Boys & Girls Clubs are now identified as a critical tool to help reverse the setbacks of the pandemic. The organization awards scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need and make up the majority of their members. The benefits of these programs are clear and well-documented, with studies showing that they can help improve educational outcomes, reduce rates of delinquency and violence, and boost overall self-esteem. In addition to the individual benefits of these programs, there are also many positive impacts on society as a whole. Not only can these programs help create more productive citizens for the future, but they also provide communities with a sense of shared purpose by promoting closer ties between youth and adults.

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