Dear Champions for Change,
When we first arrived in Philadelphia, many deemed us as outsiders and newcomers as a way to dismiss our vision for change. We were told countless times that we didn’t understand how Philadelphia operated, and we just needed to accept the status quo for our Clubs and our kids. This mantra of “that’s just the way it is” did not align with our understanding of Philadelphia’s legacy as the heart of a revolution more than 225 years ago. A legacy, that we soon learned, was deeply connected to our family roots; family roots that came to Philadelphia in 1680.
Rather than being newcomers in the city, our journey to Philadelphia reflected a return home. Soon after taking leadership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia in 2012, we learned that our ancestors first immigrated to this great city on the eve of the beginning of the revolution, seeking freedom and change. They saw Philadelphia as a place of opportunity, where they could become contributing members of society without fear of oppression or judgement. Today, more than 225 years later, this is the legacy we that we work to carry out every day at our Boys & Girls Clubs.
As the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia continue to navigate with our staff and kids through this changing time, we continually remind ourselves of the good times, great programs, laughing kids, fun activities, thoughtful and supportive donors, our Coach’s Private Reserve Dinner, Golf Outing, and all the activities that bond us as a community in the best interest of the kids who need us most. We are community strong, we are courageous, and we will flourish – together.
Since March 23rd, 2020, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia has been working in the forefront with the City and the Philadelphia Housing Authority to ensure our kids and their families, who lack the resources necessary and are experiencing food insecurity, are fed. To date, we have served over 200,000 meals in 15 of our locations.
It was critical for Boys & Girls Clubs during the shutdown to retain our employees in preparation for when the mandate was lifted. Online training, instruction, and club sanitation all ensured our staff remained active and on July 6th, our clubs began to re-open.
We have also developed virtual literacy programs, team meetings, program trainings and guidelines, and continue to deep clean all facilities as we maintain both in-person and online instruction for school and work activities. Over the summer, we saw 384 campers registered for in-person instruction, with another 103 engaged in virtual camp. Additionally, our list of sites open for in-person instruction continues to grow, and we currently have over 700 youth enrolled at our 15 open Access Centers in safe, clean, and healthy environments. For youth attending the club virtually with our new D.E.F.Y. Club, they also enjoy STEM, Literacy, and Club programming daily. Through this initiative we have logged over 1,700 hours educating remotely and engaged with over 550 youth to date.
We continue to ensure the city’s youth is given our full support and resources to restore a sense of security, peace, and goodwill as many of our children are currently surrounded by stress, dysfunctional family circumstances, and a lack of education.
Our children who live in the most economically distressed neighborhoods of Philadelphia do not have home internet, nor do they have computers at home to access valuable educational tools and resources. Normally, our children receive these resources and support full-time from their local Boys & Girls Clubs.
The time is now for us all to pull together to address the tsunami of need that COVID-19 has brought upon us.
Your donation and support as a leader will help us address these new challenges, and together we can overcome the obstacles and deficiencies that are affecting the neighborhoods we serve. Help us to lift them up so we can all move forward with a momentum of educational success and prosperity for all.
In the best interest of the kids,
Lisabeth & Joseph Marziello
President-Chief Executive Officers