When Tech Data launched its Giving … Back to School initiative in August, the response we received was overwhelming. The work our nonprofit partners continue to do for our communities is nothing short of awe-inspiring, so we decided to shine the spotlight on a few of the incredible organizations that earned the votes of our colleagues this summer.
But don’t take our word for it — get to know them in their own words.
Who we are and what we believe
Our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio, an affiliate of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, has been providing out-of-school programming to underserved youth in Columbus since 1948. Our eight Clubs operate in at-risk neighborhoods and serve kids ages 5-18. The Clubs are traditionally open five days a week from 3-7 pm during the school year and all day in the summer.
Our proven programming designed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America focuses on three core pillars:
- Academic Success
- Good Character & Citizenship, and
- Healthy Lifestyles
A typical day at the Club includes structured activities, child-driven initiatives, a well-balanced meal and daily physical activity. Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio is unique in the amount of time that Club members spend with us: through our year-round, curriculum-based programming, kids often spend more time with us in a year than in their classroom.
We impact on average each year over 4,200 youth and serve 1,600 members. Our Clubs are located in Central Ohio’s most vulnerable communities, including the Metro Columbus areas of Milo-Grogan, Weinland Park, South Side, the Hilltop and Franklinton, as well as Marion and Newark. Residents in these neighborhoods face great challenges including poverty, high crime rates, vacant housing, and barriers to educational and career attainment.
Of our Club members, 93% are economically disadvantaged and 23% report that they live in households with annual incomes under $5,000. These factors pose a significant risk to our children and contribute to an achievement gap. This gap shows up in grades, test scores, drop-out rates and more. Franklin County, where the majority of our Clubs are located, had a poverty rate of 15.9% in 2017, compared to the overall Ohio rate of 14% and the nation's rate of 12.3%. Most troubling, though, is that 25% of Franklin County children live in poverty.
In normal times, studies show that low-income youth lose an average of two months of grade level equivalency while their middle- and upper-income peers make academic gains over the summer. However, we have no idea what the effect will be on children who are out of school for much longer than three months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the New York times reported, these months out of school will exacerbate the gap between the most fortunate and the most vulnerable children — educationally, psychologically and physically.
Our Clubs are able to mitigate theses effects by offering the youth who need us most a safe place to learn and grow socially and emotionally. We provide daily snacks and meals, mentors and friendships, academic support and programming that changes lives. A child’s future should not be a matter of luck, and it is only with your assistance that we are able to continue to make an impact in our daily work.
How Tech Data and “Giving .. Back to School” has helped
The award notification from Tech Data came on the heels of our decision to open our Club locations from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm during the school day, because Columbus City Schools are 100% virtual at least through the end of October. Our families needed full-time support during this time more than they needed our standard “after-school” support, but this decision also came with the knowledge that we would be unable to receive over $350,000 in reimbursable funds from the Federal Government — which are only available for after-school support.
The generous donation from your team ensured that we were able to open when our families needed us most. Since Tuesday, September 7, we have been open all day providing support for over 160 local youth and plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. Tech Data not only supported the need to be open, but our kids now have access to necessary wi-fi, two meals a day and social and emotional support.
Our Success Stories
Nisza Cole is grateful that the Club is open during the school day for her 9-year old son, Isaiah.
A single parent and essential worker at Ohio Health, Nisza depends on the Club to give her son a safe, structured and fun environment while she is at work!
“I don’t have to worry about him playing outside and other people not watching their kids. At the Club, I know he is safe.” - Nisza Cole, Club Parent
About the Author
This blog was contributed by Tech Data's Corporate Communications team.