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March BGCCA Update

BGCCA Team, 


I hope you are all doing well. 

As we step into the month of March, I can hear the birds chirping which is a sign that warmer weather is right around the corner. I think we can all agree it's been a long winter for our youth and team members. As we look forward to March and beyond, we are excited to; reopen our Empire State ASP programs at 5 elementary school locations in the City School District of Albany; expand our food program distribution; reopen our Friday night teen program; relaunch our Workforce Development Program and start planning for summer camp. 

It has officially been a year since COVID-19 drastically impacted our organization and community. I don't know about the rest of you, but it seems like it has been much longer than that. I continue to hear positive news highlighting a decrease in cases coupled with an increase in the availability of vaccines. With that, I believe we might be on the verge of potentially regaining a sense of normalcy by the summer time. Although we might still need to wear protective equipment, take our temperatures and be diligent with sanitation practices, I am hopeful that all youth will be able to return to in-person learning in September. 

Thank you for all of your hard work day in and day out. We are doing great things for the youth and families in the Capital Area from our young pre-k students all the way to our out-of-school learners in our Workforce Development Program. It is wonderful to see so much going on and so many different people being positively impacted by what we have to offer. Keep up the great work!

Below you will find the monthly department updates from your team members. 

Delaware Avenue Clubhouse (Dave Gordon)
Our Full Day & Afterschool Programs are going well with  a combined 20 students. The students now look forward to the makerspace activities weekly.

Teen program is growing rapidly and we look forward to starting our bi-weekly Teen Night on March 5th. KUDOS:  Blade Boyd for stepping up and recruiting 15 teens with the help of our Equinox liaison, Mr. Anthony Jackson. 

Troy Clubhouse (Camron McKinley)
Major items that we are working on is continuing production and collaboration with the Freight Farm community. We have completed the new boiler install for the pool in Troy. We are working on BGC week and other programming for the children, while slowly opening up our gym rentals to the community. 

Staffing: We are looking for a new FF coordinator and assistant position. DT has come out of retirement to help us at our Ezra Prentice location. Staffing is the biggest issue right now, with COVID-19 and with staff vacations. 

Goals for this month would be to get summer programming brainstorming and trouble shooting started so that we can have our team ready for summer camp soon. 

Human Resources (Lauren Shafer)
This month HR has been focused on recruitment, trainings and continued onboarding of new staff members. 

We are still looking to hire; YDP's for the ESAP programs, a Freight Farm Assistant Coordinator, a UPK TA, Workforce Development Program Assistant and Compliance Coordinator for the Albany School Sites. We have recently hired a Albany UPK Lead Teacher, 7 YDP's, 4 Front Desk Staff and our new Ezra Program Manager, Lurvin Calix.

I have completed the first round of Management Accountability trainings, and will be conducting a Professionalism training for all full-time staff later this month. This is a new initiative to have a regularly scheduled training track for all staff. 

Food Program (Chris Sky)
Currently, our food program is serving over 750 youth in our local community housing locations spread throughout Troy and Albany. We were able to reach out to an additional 87 youth in Albany thanks to the efforts of Justin, Jimmy, Tommy, Lorenzo and Tim Doherty, who braved the winter weather during break to go door-to-door. Thank you gentleman, our youth truly need it. 

We are still running strong at our after school programs in the tri county area. We are looking forward to seeing the Empire program kickoff later this month. 

During the last month, I want to thank the Food service staff for doing an amazing job while I was out. They worked very hard and deserve all the credit for ensuring that our youth were taken care of the last few weeks. 

Right now the weather is teasing us and is still our number one challenge. Hopefully it will continue with the warming trend and treat us to nice spring weather in the coming weeks. 


21st Century/Empire (Miriam Montes)
Within the last month,  21st Century has been focused on increasing enrollment and providing our students with great programming such as Healthy Habits, Triple Play, Stem, Arts, and SEL. We are also focusing on our ESAP launch for March 22nd. At this time, we have begun enrolling students and are working closely with HR to staff the additional five sites. We will also continue to provide our remote learners the opportunity to join our Virtual Program which is led by Nicole and Niamaya Monday through Friday. Our Virtual Program consists of live and pre recorded videos, parent engagement activities, and homework help. 

This month we will be partnering with The Albany Institute of History and Art to provide our parents with a virtual art tour. During February, our 21st Century sites also participated in the Black History Competition where the students were able to work together (socially distanced) to create awesome projects. In particular, I would like to give a special shout out to Chimere for creating such a great Covid-19 Free School Bus. She was asked by her Principal to showcase her project at the school. In regards to data collection, myself and our ACSD Grant Coordinators are monitoring our programs by utilizing the monitoring/observation tool and the QSA.

Griswold Heights (Tim Pratt)
The month of February was an exciting month Griswold Heights. The Boxing Program had a press release and a story on Spectrum News that aired last Monday. We can’t wait to see what comes of the hard work of Coach Bunch and the youth participating in the program. There has been an increase for enrollment from housing in the program. Hopefully, we can secure some new equipment soon.


Youth made potato chips in the Air Fryer for Black History Month.  They enjoyed eating their hard work. Thank you, Tommy B. for coming up and lending a hand, taking pictures, and running relay races with the youth. We are looking forward to an exciting March at Griswold!


UPK Albany (Hamad Alghareeb)
Team Pre-K ALB is proud to recognize all its staff during Women History Month 2021, by making history every day while providing outstanding educational experiences during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The team is working hard to adapt to changes in collaboration expectations including an abrupt change in district curriculum. We continue to push limits operating understaffed moving closer to our end-of-the-year goals and planned outcomes. Team Pre-K ALB hopes to be fully staffed within the next two weeks, as we received an informal acceptance of a new Lead Teacher. 

Despite March being the longest and the most demanding academic month of the year, with no breaks, assessments, progress monitoring, report cards, and parent-teacher conferences. The team geared-up, and determinedly met during our Mid-Year Team Meeting to work together to reframe and pivot the theme to be a positive collaborative month for all, where we will be holding each other accountable in setting healthy work-life balance boundaries to successfully defeat March burnout. 


UPK Cohoes/Watervliet (Mary Haley)

The Cohoes UPK program continues to grow as we have enrolled 4 more families over the last two weeks. Two of our EPK 3 classrooms are at capacity(18) and only 1 opening in the third 3 year old room. We have our 6 four year old rooms running around 15 which is typical even prior to COVID.


Naomi Shaw is doing an incredible job as the Lead in the 3 year old room at Van Schiack and the kids have acclimated well to the change. UPK registration will be held in Cohoes from Monday March 15-April 22. At this point, we are looking to stay with the 8 classrooms, 3 EPK classrooms and 5 UPK classrooms.

Watervliet has had some changes over the past few weeks. Jenn Moore, resigned so Meridith has stepped into the teaching position until a replacement is found.  Samantha Craven started this Monday subbing in the full day room to help with transitions and classroom management which will be very helpful. Diamond is now working off site with her virtual classroom for the rest of the school year. 

Enrollment is steady and we are still recruiting. The UPK registration in Watervliet is being held March 10-March 18. Tim and I are working closely with Watervliet and.... we are almost Licensed!! Joe passed us on the  fire and safety inspection. Jamie Denooyer was scheduled to come do a final inspection yesterday but she had to reschedule so I am just waiting for her to get back to me and hopefully that will be by Friday. Once that is done, we can then help families apply for DSS billing to alleviate some of the financial burden.


Finance Team (Adrian and Donna)

As a reminder to current participants in BGCCA's 401k retirement plan, the administration of our 401k investments will be transferred from Paychex (our current provider) to Voya Financial beginning April 12, 2021.  No action is required on your part at this time.  Once the transfer is completed, you will be getting information directly from Voya Financial.  Please refer to the email sent by Adrian Sam on 2/26/2021 for more information.

All employees of BGCCA who have completed 1,000 working hours (typically after 6 months if you're a full-time staff) within a 12-month period are eligible to participate in our retirement plan.  To support you in your decision to save for your retirement, BGCCA will provide a matching contribution into the plan of up to 5% of your salary.  As an example, if you choose to set aside 2% of every paycheck to your retirement account, BGCCA will contribute an additional 2% to your account as well.  Please contact Adrian Sam ( if you would like more information about this benefit.


Resource Development

Jenna: I have been working on a plethora of different things…. from boxing and slam dunk press releases, to promoting events like the March Madness Bracket, to collaborating with others about how we can highlight both universal pre-k and our grant donors in the future… I have been busy! I’m also working to improve my design skills and stewardship process. Plus I now have an amazingly talented intern to manage three half days a week! The year has picked up!


Kim: In regards to grants, we have been in the process of submitting several grant 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:

OJJDP Grant: Mentoring programs at our Albany Clubhouse, Troy Clubhouse and TOAST sites

United Way grant: Freight farm program

Rubin Grant- Freight farm program


Tommy: On the corporate side of things, we are now moving forward with sponsorship outreach for our golf tournament.  If anyone works with a partner they think would be a good candidate to approach for sponsorship, please feel free to shoot me an email.  We have opportunities ranging from $150 to $5,000.  In addition to this, we've been busy meeting with partners to find opportunities for 2021 collaboration.  So far we've met with Community Resource FCU and have scheduled meetings with Northwestern Mutual and MVP.  Finally, we're approaching finishing proposals for the Club-on-the-Go Program as well as a proposal for gas (to fuel our vans) and the Teen Program.  


Tracy: The Events Committee has many irons in the fire for the start of 2021.  Running off the heels of a successful Super Bowl Squares fundraiser, we are busy setting up a March Madness Brackets  fundraiser.  Stay tuned for more details and a chance to win $1000 and other prizes all while supporting our food service program and pop-up food pantries at the Albany clubhouse, Troy clubhouse and Griswold Heights.  Ten new “Change Matters” coin boxes were placed at the end of February and will continue to collect coins through Easter Sunday at all Ted’s Fish Fry restaurants and 7-11’s throughout the Capital Area.   For second quarter, plans are in the works to continue our Bottle & Can Recycling fundraiser to support Summer Camp.   Also, we are organizing an engraved brick fundraiser to create a Great Futures Brick Walkway in front of the Albany Clubhouse.   Forward progress has been made on our sponsorship package and promotional flyer for our 3rd Annual Chip-In Fore Youth Golf Tournament set for June 24th.  For the third quarter, with Covid restrictions lifting and  vaccines underway, we are searching for an indoor/outdoor venue to host a gala for the fall.  


Lorenzo: February proved to be one of the most active months in regard to volunteerism going back to Q4 in 2020, as volunteers served a total of approximately 245 hours! This spike in hours served can largely be attributed to the work of eager interns and dedicated returners. As we have been adhering to capacity limits due to the pandemic, volunteers went above and beyond in averaging roughly 15 hours per individual, which is a stunning show of the commitment and perseverance our community has shown in the face of adversity!


In regard to projects moving forward, I have spent the last week or so trying to determine projects that would be suitable for large volunteer groups once Spring hits. The focus in this narrative is seeking out groups (ideally companies) that would be willing to compensate us for hosting the volunteer group or (as is the case with our 7/11 partnership) have the volunteer relationship lead to grant opportunities. Needless to say, we’re very excited to see what our volunteers can accomplish in the months to come!


Jimmy: This month we have been focusing on improving processes and working towards a comprehensive stewardship plan that makes every donor feel like a connected member of our “BGC Family”. Individually we have prepared our ideas and will come together as a group with some support from BGCA. We currently lack the ability to understand and showcase what happens on a daily basis in programs. Once our new framework is set up, we will be looking for some help collecting stories that capture how we are providing Great Futures each and every day. Did you make it to this part of the team update? If so, drop me an individual email, g-chat or text with one thing that made you happy today to receive a prize. Finally, if you have an individual that is interested in learning how they can make an impact in their community or program needs that we can promote for a summer campaign, please send them my way!


Justin Reuter

Chief Executive Officer

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area

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