The Boys & Girls Club of Evansville is known as “The Positive Place for Kids.” Their mission is to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
With two locations in Evansville, the professional staff members of the Boys & Girls Club provide guidance-oriented character development programs for children ages five to 18 years old. The team helps nurture children’s esteem by instilling a sense of belonging, purpose, influence and competence through thoughtful programming.
History of the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville
The Boys & Girls Club of Evansville began operating in 1957. This summer the organization will celebrate its 65th anniversary! It originally opened as an all-boys youth services agency, but today provides services and programming for the most at-risk youth in the community. Its main location, OneMain Financial Boys & Girls Club Unit, is located on Bellemeade Avenue, with a second unit located on Dresden Street. Additionally, the organization supports youth through its school extension sites at Cedar Hall and Delaware. They typically serve approximately 1,200 youth annually.
“As we celebrate our 65th anniversary this year, we will continue to serve youth and families who are in need of a safe, positive place; where youth can discover their own path to success,” says Shanna Groeninger, Director of Development & Marketing.
The Boys & Girls Club of Evansville’s location offers a library, technology center, indoor gym, workout room, game rooms, arts and crafts room and even a lounge! Children participate in a variety of special events throughout the year, such as field trips to the zoo, 4-H Fair, Holiday World and Children’s Museum of Evansville, holiday arts and crafts and much more.
Programs the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville offers
The Boys & Girls Club of Evansville focuses on programs in the areas of academic success, healthy lifestyles and good character and citizenship.
The organization’s academic programs encourage engagement in learning, complement regular school day activities, foster positive study habits and self-discipline, and provide guidance and resources to keep members on track academically while enhancing academic performance.
The Boys & Girls Club of Evansville also assists children in achieving social, emotional, and physical wellness through its healthy lifestyle programs. This promotes the importance of leading a healthy and productive lifestyle by encouraging positive decision making, teaching good sportsmanship, fostering connections to build social and interpersonal skills, and educating members and their families on the importance of healthy eating and activities and avoiding tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
The organization’s good character programs include development of a positive self-image and strong character, teaching effective strategies for conflict response, building meaningful relationships, empowerment to support and influence their community and teaching respect for their own culture and that of others, as well.
Staff support and encouragement
Each of the programs and activities that the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville provides is intended to help support the youth (called members) enrolled in the club in the best ways possible. Last fall, the organization hired a social emotional director who implemented daily emotional check-ins with members.
As soon as the children arrive at the club, a staff member welcomes them and asks how they’re feeling that day. They can point to one of the fun cartoon character monster pictures that best describes their mood that day—such as happy, sad, angry, worried, shy, confused, etc. The process provides a meaningful way for the members to open up and for the staff to demonstrate that they care about the children's well-being.
“These daily check-ins have helped the members and staff tremendously! This 30-second activity helps the kids let us know how they are doing, which then helps the staff know where to ‘meet’ them that day,” shared Director of Programs Amy Hahn. “If one of our members lets us know they’re having a rough day, we make sure that we check in on them later that day.”
For members who share that they’re having a rough few days or week, the Boys & Girls Club staff focuses some one-on-one time with the child, which could be anything from taking a walk while they chat, playing a game or the member having the opportunity to help a staff member with a task. “We have found that members tend to open up more if they are doing an activity with us because the conversation is more casual so they can let their guard down,” said Hahn.
How can you support the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville?
The organization has an ongoing wishlist of items necessary for keeping their programming running smoothly. These items include craft supplies, healthy snacks, cleaning and hygiene items, toys and games, and much more. Donated items may be dropped off or mailed to their location at 700 Bellemeade Ave. location in Evansville.
Personal and company donations are also greatly appreciated and may be mailed, dropped off or submitted online. The Boys & Girls Club of Evansville is also excited to be accepting volunteers, and they do their best to accommodate the needs and interests of each volunteer. There are a variety of programs, activities and leagues where help is needed.
Learn more about enrolling your child, hours of operation, membership and volunteering on the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville website.