While optimistic about the future, the youth in our country find themselves trapped in a gap between hope and opportunity, according to a recent survey. Struggling with violence in their neighborhoods and the challenges of just finishing high school, many young people feel they are not being afforded real opportunities for their future.
This year, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the nation’s fastest-growing youth service organization, celebrates its centennial. As part of the milestone, BGCA conducted the “Youth Report to America,” a national survey sponsored by American Express of more than 46,000 young people.
The Youth Report to America shows that nearly one-third of teens want a less-violent world, but nearly one-fourth identified the possibility of going to war as their greatest fear. Almost half felt college is necessary for a successful career, yet more than one-fourth feared they wouldn’t be able to graduate from high school. Meanwhile, close to half said their parents significantly influence their decisions.
BGCA is in a position to help close the gap. Throughout the year, Boys & Girls Club members are rallying youth to work with parents, community officials and political leaders to develop new programs and evolve existing programs that address the concerns of today’s youth.
“After a century of serving our nation’s youth and providing a safe place for kids to learn and grow, we decided the best way for us to commemorate our centennial would be to provide a platform for our young people to express their views to the nation,” said Roxanne Spillett, president of BGCA.
BGCA’s ongoing commitment to the youth it serves means the creation of innovative programs that reflect changes in our society, from technology initiatives that teach kids how to be safe online to diversity education efforts that teach the importance of tolerance in our multiracial society.
Since 1906, BGCA has helped young people connect with opportunities for personal growth and achievement. The organization provides services that promote the health, social, educational, vocational and character development of youth.