One of Fooptath’s most valuable partners has been various Boys & Girls Clubs in the area including Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, which serves greater Akron. Their work inspires us and we are very grateful for the partnerships. We want to highlight why their organization is amazing and the incredible impact they have on local communities.
These clubs are changing lives and you can see this instantly with a quick visit to one of their sites. Kids are engaged and smiling from ear to ear. Their mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need help the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Clubs are made available to kids when they are the most vulnerable; after school, Saturdays and during the summer. Every day, 11.3 million kids are left unsupervised after school and how they spend this time can impact their lives greatly. Each club tailors their enrichment programming to meet the needs of their specific kids but they all champion academic success, healthy lifestyles, character building and community involvement.
These kids gain so much from attending the clubs and having access to positive mentorship. Around 90% of Boys & Girls Club kids live in poverty and violence is too prevalent. As the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland President Ron Soeder said, “I’m tired of seeing children killed in Cleveland. I’m tired of seeing teddy bears on telephone poles.” The Clubs are working hard to improve these kids’ odds of success that sometimes seem stacked against them.
Footpath’s mission is closely aligned with the Boys & Girls Club’s mission. They also highly value getting kids into safe, outdoor areas and immersing them in nature. We are currently working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County for our pilot program of the Footpath Nature Club. Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County President, Mike Conibear, feels Footpath’s partnership has a powerful impact on his Club kids. “Footpath Foundation is bringing outdoor experiences to kids that won’t otherwise have them, but desperately need them. I’m extremely excited to bring overnight summer camp to our kids for the first time ever, thanks to Footpath. We’ve already seen the difference Footpath makes for our kids through Footpath Nature Club and their field trips.”
Boys & Girls Clubs are saving lives. Studies show improved grades, reduced alcohol use, and less hunger as they provide hot meals daily to all of their kids. In addition to Footpath programming, these clubs offer athletics, arts, music, horticulture, graphic design, dance and so much more. We are honored to work with these amazing people who help make Footpath programming so effective. “The Boys & Girls Club is an excellent partner since we have similar end goals – helping kids reach their fullest potential. It just makes sense for us to collaborate, and our synergies are strong,” says Mary Macias, Footpath Foundation President.