Funds Committed to Expand Boys & Girls Club

POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County, through its Agency Partner Grant program, has awarded the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh $100,000 in grant funding to implement a comprehensive after-school program at the New Hope Community Center in the City of Poughkeepsie. This program will target the academic, social and behavioral development of city youth.

As part of the New Hope Community Center, which serves as a hub of services for youth and families throughout the City of Poughkeepsie, the Boys & Girls Club will come to the City of Poughkeepsie, offering local children evidence-based programming vital to their future success.

This new programming at the youth center at the New Hope Community Center, located at 104 Hudson Avenue, will be a community collaboration. In addition to Dutchess County, the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley has committed funds, and several other partners are considering significant investments so this program can become a neighborhood anchor where at-risk youths can receive preventative services from adult mentors.

County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Dutchess County continues to make an investment in our children, providing programs and services to help our youth, particularly those who are at-risk, grow in self-worth, enhance their confidence and reach their fullest potential. The Boys & Girls Club is an evidence-based model that personally reaches children and gives them the skills needed to not only succeed in school, but also outside the four walls of a classroom. As an integral part of the New Hope Community Center, the Boys & Girls Club will both offer both guidance for our children in the City of Poughkeepsie and a safe setting in which they can develop – academically, emotionally and socially – into our next generation of leaders.”

The Afterschool Project (TAP) is a comprehensive after-school education initiative designed to provide 90 City of Poughkeepsie students in kindergarten through eighth grade with the academic, social and emotional skills they need to successfully graduate high school, enroll in college and enter the workforce. TAP will partner with Dutchess County, the City of Poughkeepsie, the Poughkeepsie City School District, New Hope Community Center, the Poughkeepsie Housing Authority and other community-based organizations to establish this high-quality program. This after-school program will operate from September to June, Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the hours when young people are most likely to engage in harmful, negative activities if left unsupervised.

Students taking part in TAP will receive access to positive youth development activities in the areas of academic enrichment, science and technology, leadership development, arts and culture, and sports and recreation. This rich array of activities is designed to improve the academic, social and vocational competencies of participating youth, especially those attending low-performing schools.

County Legislator Barbara Jeter-Jackson said, “Through its services and programs, the Boys & Girls Club gives our children a sense of belonging and purpose alongside mentors who guide them in a safe environment. We look forward to partnering with such a successful organization here in Dutchess County, and we’re confident at-risk youth in the City of Poughkeepsie will flourish from this collaboration.”

Based on its research of successful practices in communities with demographics similar to the City of Poughkeepsie, the Boys & Girls Club has established its after-school programs with a structure consisting of one to two hours of academic enrichment each day. This time includes homework help and tutoring for all students, English Language Arts (ELA) and math instruction for students who are failing to meet New York State standards and academic enrichment for students currently meeting New York State standards. The program also provides one to two hours daily of youth development activities, allowing students to choose from a wide variety of offerings in the areas of science and technology, sports and recreation, and arts and culture. Classes include leadership development, photography, computer based graphic design, film making, instrumental music, dance, martial arts, intramural sports and chess.

In his 2017 County Budget, County Executive Molinaro again emphasized his commitment to youth, funding several initiatives to strengthen families, and improve the lives of County children. Among others, these included:

* “Strengthening Families,” an evidence-based family skills training program that has been proven to significantly improve parenting skills, reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, alcohol and drug abuse in children and improve social competencies and school performance

* A community schooling model which will integrate academics and services, utilizing the school as a central hub of service provision

* “Better for Families,” a New York State reform program aimed at improving the family court system as it relates to youth, involving families earlier in the court process using a multi-disciplinary approach with regular meeting to work toward goals

“Funding such worthwhile programs, including the Boys & Girls Club’s after-school project, doesn’t just help Dutchess County’s youth; it helps Dutchess County as a whole,” County Executive Molinaro said. “The young men and women who successfully complete these initiatives will go on to contribute to our society, engage in their community and find success long after they finish the programs, success that will positively affect all Dutchess County residents.”

The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh, founded in 1946, is to enable all young people, especially those who need the organization the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Kevin White, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh, said, “We look forward to bringing the same evidence-based programs to Dutchess County that have proved so successful for us in the past. We thank County Executive Molinaro for his vision and dedication to local youth, and we are eager to work with our community partners in Dutchess County to bring about real change in the City of Poughkeepsie.”

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