As we move into the new year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on all that you accomplished in 2020. We came together, continued to adapt, and did whatever it took to ensure that the needs of our community were met. Here are some highlights:
We served over 460,000 meals in 2020, more than double our 2019 output.
We opened a new UPK program in Watervliet.
We opened our Lyricism 101 mobile studio.
We opened new after-school and day program locations at EZRA Prentice Homes and Griswold Heights Apartments.
We launched our Workforce Development program.
We were the only Boys & Girls Club in the state to hold a summer 21st Century Program.
We re-opened and ran the Troy pool after being closed down for several years.
Most importantly, we were there for those that needed us most and did our best to provide support to our youth and families. You showed the community that the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area stands by its mission and excels when faced with adversity.
All of these accomplishments were made during the most challenging year I can remember since I started working at the Club in 2008. I can’t thank you enough for continuing to step up, show up, and perform day in and day out no matter what challenges we were faced with.
I hope brighter days are ahead of us. As you are aware, the vaccine roll out has been off to a slow start, but many of us are already making appointments to receive it in the next few months. I am hopeful that we can regain some sense of normalcy by the summer time. Until then, please continue to be safe and mindful of COVID safety protocols.
We truly have a great team in place and I look forward to a successful year ahead.
Below you will find the monthly department updates. Thank you for all that you do.
Human Resources (Lauren)
I have been focused on staffing, the 2021 benefits roll out, the 2021 handbook update and training sessions, as well as researching new FFCRA legislation changes.
I’m looking to hire one food service worker, two lead teachers in our Albany UPK, as well as two YDP’s in Albany for 21st Century when they return from virtual programming. We have just on-boarded three new YDP’s, one full-time food service worker, a lead teacher for Cohoes UPK, and a TA for Albany UPK.
Kim: In regards to grants, we are in the process of submitting several applications as well as reports. The focus this month has been planning for 2021 and creating a more efficient grant process. New grants for this period include:
Review Foundation: $10,000 for the Freight Farm
John D. Picotte Family Foundation: $10,000 for technology upgrades
Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation: $19,825 for Lyricism Mobile Program
Jenna: I have been planning my 2021 goals and direction with Tommy. I am working on an Ezra Prentice press release and planning out our Times Union advertising schedule (this will correspond with goals and events held this year.) I am also creating sustainable processes for marketing, social media, and programs in Google Drive.
Lastly, a news section should be up on the website soon with the help of Kim! Among other things, I think we can take the momentum of 2020 and blow this year out of the water in terms of Club awareness.
Jimmy: The theme of January is data, planning and creating resources for success. In 2020, individuals donated just under $400,000 (over 10 times the amount received in 2019). For 2021, our goal is to remind these supporters of their impact, keep everyone updated on what’s happening at the Club, and capitalize on our increased exposure by engaging with new prospects. With a few large donations that we don’t expect to see this year, we set our 2021 individual giving goal to $120,000.
Lorenzo: As predicted in the last volunteer monthly update, there seemed to be a dip in volunteerism in December. This is largely due both to the absence of our interns that work within our programs. While volunteers only contributed 145 hours of labor in December (as opposed to the 225 average hours worked by volunteers in October and November), there are many reasons to be optimistic for 2021. We should be seeing a fresh wave of incoming interns and student volunteers from Sage, Siena, RPI, and UAlbany for the Spring 2021 semester. Additionally, the BGCCA will attempt to utilize virtual tutors through the CovEd organization within the coming weeks. Lastly, I am also going to attempt to hold monthly (or twice a month) info sessions for individuals interested in volunteering with the club. These sessions will be held over Zoom or Google Meet and will provide interested parties with information on our volunteer opportunities.
Tommy: On the corporate side of things, we are tying up the loose ends of 2020 and completing our 2021 planning. At the end of the year we received $2,500 from MRI Real Estate, $50,000 from CDPHP and received donations from Security Plumbing & Heating Supply Co. to adopt four families. The theme for 2021 is stewardship and we plan to continue building on our success for another great year.
Tracy: Thanks to the generosity of over 25 community partners, the Making Futures Bright Holiday Stocking Program was a HUGE success providing new books, toys, and gifts for over 500 club members in our preschool classes and all 3 clubhouse locations bringing extra joy and excitement to the holiday season. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, the events team is cautiously planning and strategizing safe, lucrative and fun events for 2021.
Ezra Prentice Homes (Breya)
We had a wonderful Christmas Season this month! We were able to slowly increase the number of students we are serving while also getting ready to assist the tenants by opening up the Capital South Campus Center for teen virtual assistance. Here we provide a quiet safe place to conduct their schooling.
We were also able to assist with handing out donated gifts to the families in need and ended the year strong with our Christmas gathering for the students we have in the program. Additionally, we handed out gifts selected by the staff for our kids and sent the students home with gifts to start off their Christmas break right. With everything going on, we were able to keep our kids safe and healthy by following all CDC guidelines. We are excited to see what the new Year 2021 brings.
Delaware Avenue (Dave)
Our gym entrance from the clubhouse hallway received new entry doors. The full/day and after-school programs have continued to run despite closures around the district. Our Pathstone staff continue to be an asset for our full-day program. They helped with our holiday party and setting up the Christmas Tree. We were able to give 40 families toys and winter coats for the holiday season. During the holiday break Delaware Ave stayed opened to help families in need.
Our Teen program is growing. We see up to 75 teens on a weekly basis thru Lyricism 101 and Allstars-Open Gym.
21st Century (Miriam)
At this time, myself and the 21st Century Site Coordinators have switched our focus to virtual programming. Today will be our first day of virtual programming where we will be offering an hour of live programming daily, 30 minute pre recorded programming, and time for our students to socialize with our Site Coordinators and YDP’s. We will continue to run our virtual program when we return to in-person programming to offer our remote learners the opportunity to be a part of our program.
In addition to focusing on our virtual program I continue to work closely with Lauren, Jenny, and Angela to ensure everything is done correctly in reference to staffing, programming, and clearances. We are currently partnering with Dr. Shannon from Albany Medical Center on a program called Science in the media, Two Together on a Literacy program that includes tutoring, Red Cross for emergency preparedness, and the Capital Repertory Theater. We are fully enrolled at AHES and are working with the school administration at our other locations to increase enrollment.
Food Program (Chris)
Welcome 2021!!! I am sure that we are all excited about the New Year, and what it might hold for all of us. I know I am not alone when I say we are hoping for the good old days to return. Right now our Food Service Department is still fighting the good fight to keep the kids in our communities fed. Especially with the uncertainty of school closures.
We just finished our first month of being back in Albany Housing. Right now we are at Robert Whalen, Ezra Prentice, Capital Woods, Creighton Storey and North Albany Homes. As of 1/5/2021 we have 286 kids signed up. Our Troy Housing locations are still going strong with 331 kids.
Once the weather began to change over we started prepping and bagging at the kitchen to limit the amount of time the team is out in the field. Knock on wood so far it has been working out very well for us. We do miss setting up outside in the fresh air and seeing the families we serve.
One of the challenges that we are currently facing is the weather. Last month the snow storm impacted 2 delivery days. It is not an easy decision to make when deciding to keep the team off the roads. We all know that for some of the kids in our community, this might be the only food they receive for a few days.
I would like to thank Javion, John, Amos, Rufus, Mark and Nick for the hard work they have done. We worked throughout the end of the year only closing down on Christmas and New Year's Day to ensure our kids were taken care of.
If any of you would like to get some first-hand experience with the joys of fresh air and exercise. Please feel free to reach out and join us for a delivery day or two.
Troy Clubhouse (Camron)
We are currently starting 2021 with a fresh look at programs at the clubhouse. We have continued to clean regularly to reduce the spread of Covid. Staff have been doing a great job cleaning and being consistent with Covid regulations. They have also done a great job covering sick time when other staff are out sick. This allows more consistent programming with less issues with parents and kids.
We would like to increase the enrollment and start to focus on the quality and recording process for our programs to make it more put together
We have been working with Kim to help improve the grant recording information with google classroom.
Finance Department (Adrian & Donna)
Adrian will provide program managers with a summary of their remaining budget for supplies, technology, events, etc. to be spent before the end of the 2020/21 school year the week of Jan 18th. Current programs: Albany & Troy Clubhouses (afterschool and teens), UPK Albany, UPK Cohoes, UPK Watervliet, 21st Century program, Ezra Prentice, Griswold Heights, Workforce Development, Freight Farm, Soccer for Success, Lyricism 101, Unity House Youth Funding.
Chief Executive Officer
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area