Mass Foundation Donates $15K to Springfield Boys & Girls Club
United Bank Foundation Massachusetts today announced that with the help of the $15,000 grant they approved for the Springfield Boys & Girls Club last year, the organization invested it in their First STEP – Club Walk Program which helped the organization achieve much success in 2015 for the youth program, including a telling statistic that 87% of youth who participated in the program are expected to graduate on-time.
The First STEP – Club Walk Program is a local initiative run by the Springfield Boys & Girls Club that helps educate, support and build confidence in local youth with the goal of helping them become productive and respectful citizens and future leaders. It’s a partnership between the Club and two public elementary schools to provide free after school and summer programs as well as tutoring to more than 150 youths in grades one through five. Four days a week during the school year Boy’s & Girl’s staff walk students from the two partner schools in Springfield directly to the Club so they can participate in a variety of structured after school activities.
“United Bank has been a longtime and avid supporter of the Springfield Boys & Girls Club not only through our Foundation but also by way of employee volunteerism. It’s always been a rewarding partnership for us and we know that when we dedicate funding to the Club it will be prudently used to create a safe place for learning and instill a sense of hope and opportunity in today’s youth who need it most,” said Dena M. Hall, Western Mass Regional President and President of the United Bank Foundation Massachusetts. “Our investment in the Springfield Boys & Girls Club – coupled with their devoted volunteers and other corporate donors – help the Club change the outcomes for youths by giving them the confidence and life skills needed to succeed at home, in the classroom and out in the community.”
The program is also designed to improve school attendance, promote better behavior at school and at home and making sure youth from the area are actively engaged after school and during the summer so they are not vulnerable to risky behavior. It teaches conflict management and strengthens academic skills so students are better able to achieve grade-level requirements. In order to participate, the Club requires area youths to participate in a minimum of two days of tutoring each week that is focused on literacy and math. In the summer, the emphasis and study is placed on science.
In its 2015 year-end recap of the program, the Club reported that 125 youths participated in the First STEP program during the school year along with 36 youths involved in the summer program. Both the school year and summer programs recorded significant success for its students in math and the increase in sight words recognition. The attendance rate for students enrolled in the school year and summer program was also very impressive in 2015.
The United Bank Foundation Massachusetts continues to be a strong supporter of various Boys & Girls Clubs in Greater Springfield, most recently making donations not only to the Springfield Club but also the Westfield, West Springfield and Ludlow clubs.
For more information about the United Bank Foundation Massachusetts, go to www.bankatunited.com
. To learn about the Springfield Boys & Girls Club’s mission and programs, please visit www.sbgc.org
From left to right: Emily Kerswell (United Bank), Darilynn Nardi (United Bank), Marty Mendes (United Bank) and Sarah Tsitso (Executive Director Springfield Boys & Girls Club). In the front row are participants of the Springfield Boys & Girls Club who benefit from the United Bank Foundation’s donation.