The Results are In:
Invest in Maryland by Investing in Kids
Boys & Girls Clubs from across Maryland are urging legislators to support policies and invest funding in ways that positively impact youth and by extension, the entire state. Club professionals and volunteers will be spending time at the State House to ensure their message is heard – invest in kids and all Marylanders benefit.
Recently, Clubs conducted a survey to learn the impact their services have on Maryland kids and teens, and to further refine programming to meet youth needs. The research confirms what anyone who has spent time in a Boys & Girls Club knows – Clubs help kids feel safe, connected, accepted, hopeful, and fulfilled.
More than 85% of Maryland Club members say their Club helps them understand and express their feelings and solve problems. Clubs help kids feel valued, listened to, and accepted which results in them feeling less sad, frustrated by school, and stressed out by problems at home and more likely to be relaxed, in a good mood, and look forward to the day. At a time when youth mental health needs are at an all-time high and flagged as a public crisis by the Surgeon General in 2021 and President Biden in 2022 the work of organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs in partnership with the government is more critical than ever. The pandemic unmasked populations with underlying vulnerabilities and the extent of the mental health crisis on racial and ethnic minority, sexual and gender minority, and marginalized young people. Club teens are 15% more likely to have an adult from whom they seek help, in addition to their parents, than a non-Club member. These percentages increase when disaggregated by race (e.g. Hispanic Club teens are 30% more likely). This additional adult support is critical to ensure positive outcomes for youth.
The need is great and cannot be tackled by any one entity as the impacts of isolation, anxiety, and depression manifest differently by age, gender, and other demographic factors. Maryland Boys & Girls Clubs complement efforts in schools and support families as the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold. Clubs focus on prevention and equipping young people with the tools to identify emotions, resolve conflict, and cope with challenges.
“Clubs across Maryland are providing vital services for kids and teens. With the addition of licensed social workers in some Clubs and the implementation of trauma informed practices, Boys & Girls Clubs stand ready to help Maryland families” shared Y’landa Burch, Director of the Maryland Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.
To rise to the ever-changing challenges facing Maryland young people, Clubs have become nimble-quickly collecting and analyzing data to learn about what kids need most. This real-time data is valuable, not only to Clubs. but to the state as it seeks to improve the lives of youth and families.
Parents and families understand the value quality out of school time programing brings to young people. A recent study from the National Afterschool Alliance found that 8 in 10 voters want their elected leaders, at every level, to provide more funding for afterschool programs. This high level of support for Out of School Time programming coupled with the proven results of Boys & Girls Clubs makes an investment in Clubs a win for Maryland legislators and a win for Maryland families.
Boys & Girls Clubs across Maryland serve more than 16,000 youth at more than 70 Club sites in 13 counties with plans to expand to every county in the state and reach more than 45,000 youth. The Maryland Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs works as the collective voice for all Clubs and the families and youth they serve.
Jones SE, Ethier KA, Hertz M, et al. Mental health, suicidality, and connectedness among high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic—Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, United States, January–June 2021. MMWR Suppl. 2022;71(suppl 3):16-21.