As all of you have seen and heard over the past eight days, our Nation is reeling after the unconscionable death of George Floyd and countless other black men and women before him. As a Community Based Organization, we represent all young people regardless of any differentiating factor, but especially race and ethnicity, and must speak loudly for those treated unjustly and inhumanly. We honor and echo the messages and demands for systemic change for all black people in our country and around the world.

The following is a message many of you may have received today from our National CEO, Jim Clark, which captures the importance of that which binds us together in supporting the black community during this transformational moment in history. Please spend some time not just reading it, but comprehending the messages provided there-within. Together, we are committed to being a part of progress. We can all do better, and we will.

As with Jim Clark’s remarks below, these are trying and challenging days, and please know I/we are just a phone call or email away. In the meantime, we will continue to evaluate and produce increased opportunities around racial and cultural sensitivity and appreciation for everyone who interacts with our organization. We invite you to share your voice and be a part of doing all we can here in Garden Grove to bring about transformation everywhere.

Mark Surmanian
Chief Executive Officer

Dear Club Leaders,

Following the images broadcast around the country over the past week, our nation is mourning. Much like you and your teams, my staff and I are carrying heavy hearts as we continue our service to this great mission. I know you stand with me in condemning the unacceptable and inhumane treatment and killing of George Floyd, and far too many before him.

The future of our nation rests in the hands of our young kids and teens – young people who are watching the news and their social media feeds, overhearing their parents’ conversations, worrying for their world and coming to your Club with concern in their eyes. With racist acts and national civil unrest combining with a global pandemic, our Club members – especially black children and teens – need us.

As Boys & Girls Clubs, we take a stand for the future of America’s children. We stand against racism and discrimination. We stand for safety, health, dignity and equitable opportunity. Boys & Girls Clubs have always been at the forefront of change, and we are long overdue for change in this country. As a nation, we can and must demand change to ensure these basic rights for black people and anyone who faces systemic prejudices.

Our Club members – especially young people of color – need to be heard. And they need leadership from a trusted voice. They need to hear that we will fight to ensure the great futures they deserve. That they deserve to dream. That they deserve love. And that they deserve to be safe – not just at the Club, but everywhere.

I don’t have the answers for how we are going to heal the deep divides we have in America, but, as a leader, one of the wisest things I can do is listen. I’m going to look to my team, to you, to the young people we serve and ask for ideas and input. If you have not done so already, I highly encourage you to address your staff openly and honestly about the state of our nation.

Last night we met with our national Board of Governors to discuss a framework for developing a strategic approach to address race, social justice and equity. The approach will be rooted in creating safe places, partnering with you and other stakeholders to engage in dialogue, and leveraging our national platform to effect change. We’re going to continue to support you in building positive, supportive, inclusive environments that are trauma-informed, where young people of all races and backgrounds are encouraged to have difficult conversations and use their voices.

The challenges we face can seem insurmountable. What keeps me going in the face of these challenges is the depth of commitment I have to young people. As always, let’s look to our mission to keep us going. And know that the work you do is part of the change that is needed.

These are difficult days. Check in on each other. Stay connected with each other. Know I’m just a phone call or email away – please reach out.

Thank you for all you are doing.

Jim Clark
President and CEO
Boys & Girls Clubs of America

An Update From Our CEO

To our Members, Families, and Supporters:

We hope you are all staying healthy and managing as best you can with the numerous current challenges our communities face. Today, June 1, 2020, marks a special milestone in our Organization’s recent journey in helping us do all we can to balance the two parallel goals of serving our community, especially those who need us most. While also playing our role in helping to mitigate this ongoing public health crisis while being good stewards of those who entrust us to care for their loved one(s). We thank you all for your patience and understanding as we worked to navigate through these unchartered times.

Through the result of the incredibly diligent work of our dedicated staff, our Board of Directors unanimously approved BGCGG’s Preschool Restoration Plan for Essential Workers on May 18, 2020, to allow us to resume serving the children of those families who work in essential fields. This includes the children of workers in healthcare, government, financial, custodial, and other critical areas. As we embrace new standards and techniques such as increased sanitization and social distancing among our youngest kiddos, we will use this opportunity to learn and grow in a manageable and controlled setting. We will all be better prepared for the coming days in which we resume all program sites and services across our entire organization. We strongly feel the world of Youth Development has drastically changed over these past few months, and as such, we must stretch and grow our mindsets to ensure that we come out of this public health crisis stronger than we entered it.

Over the next several weeks and months, we will continue working hand-in-hand with our collaborative partners to determine the feasibility and timing of the restoration of our remaining 66 program sites throughout Garden Grove and surrounding cities. This will include the continual evaluation of the potential for a return to in-person Summer programs and looking ahead to this coming Fall. These are not decisions made lightly as many considerations around programmatic and logistical changes are in the works. We also have many building improvements yet to be finalized as we look to return to our full operating capacity of serving nearly 5,000 members every day.

Again, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your continued support and engagement with our organization. We are all so excited at the prospects of having our young people and families return to in-person services. Most importantly, we must do it the right way and ensure the utmost consideration of the physical and emotional safety of all those who walk through our blue doors.

Be well,

Mark Surmanian
CEO

COVID-19 Relief Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented times for our country and Boys & Girls Clubs are not immune to the devastating impact of this treacherous pandemic. We can’t wait to get back to what we do best, serve the needs of kids and families in our community. BGCGG is finding other ways to support our communities through our Community Health Services, which include ARCHES, Family & Youth Outreach Programs, and Truancy Reduction Center, as well as providing support for members through virtual programming.

BGCGG is launching a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help provide urgent support to youth and families in need. Food, hygiene items, technology and school supplies are just a few of the items we are providing to families on a weekly basis. We are in this together! Your donation will have an immediate impact. Thank you for your support.

Helpful Tips For Adjusting

Thank you - Reylena Lopez, MSW - Director| Truancy Prevention Program

Create a routine — Change out of your pajamas, shower and make a to-do of all the things you want to achieve each day to create a sense of normality and productivity.

Break up your day — Find tasks to break up your day and, where possible, change your environment for different activities.

Take care of your body — Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. That could include conducting indoor workout classes, stretching and practicing meditation.

Help other — If you’re not under strict isolation rules yourself, and you’re in a position to do so, find ways to support those in need by offering to run errands and collect supplies for them.

Stay connected — Make the most of technology and stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family via phone calls, texts, social media and video conferencing.

Limit media intake — Stay informed about the situation via reliable sources, but limit your news and social media intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Prepare medical supplies — The National Alliance on Mental Illness advises, where necessary, asking your doctor for extended prescription supplies to tide you over for quarantine periods.

Fight boredom — Make the most of catching up TV series, reading and exploring projects you have been putting off to beat boredom and stay mentally active.

Avoid burnout — Set strict limits to your work to avoid becoming overwhelmed and make time to unwind.

Focus on the positives — Amplify good news stories and honor caregivers working tirelessly to resolve the situation.

Take one day at a time — Try not to project too far into the future. Remember that these are temporary measures and you are not alone.