When classrooms started phasing out homework, Boys & Girls Club staff had to get creative about “Power Hour.”
“Power Hour is our homework help program we run every day after school, and we often recruit volunteer tutors, or the older kids help the younger kids” said Area Director Eric Battle.
The timing varies at each Club, but typically “Power Hour” begins after kids have time to settle in and run around for 30 minutes after school. Although it doesn’t always last the full hour, members are required to use this time for academics.
“If a member says he or she doesn’t have homework, then typically we find him or her a book to read,” said Battle. “But when we realized that teachers were phasing out homework and many kids didn’t have something to work on, we knew we needed to get creative.”
Youth Development Professional Deborah Gregory at the York Club also works during the day as a Para-educator in the York County Public School system.
“I saw a lot of kids struggling with reading during the day, and not all of our Club members have family at home that can or want to take the time to read with them, so I figured we would put our efforts there,” said Gregory.
They started with second graders and called the program, “Rocking in our Reading Shoes.” Participants pick out a book, read the book either by themselves or with a helper, and then complete a reading “pennant.” The pennant worksheet includes the title, author, description, their personal rating, and a reason (via drawings) for the rating.
Teachers have seen significant grade increases, including some by more than a letter.
And most importantly, the kids are enjoying the program. They even decorated one of the doors in the Club in honor of “Rocking in our Reading Shoes.”(displayed below)
“I like reading because it’s fun, but also because I get to learn new things,” said Jaliyah, one of the second graders in the program.
To engage other grade levels, Ms. Gregory began pairing up third grade students with first grade students who are having trouble reading.
“I enjoy helping whenever Ms. Gregory asks me,” explained Jordan, a third grade reading tutor. “I get to read with my friends and help some of the other Club members.”
The effort has been so successful that teachers requested Gregory begin working with Club members on spelling. Now, Club members are assigned spelling lists each week depending on their grade and spelling level, and practice Monday through Wednesday.
“Members take a pre-test at the Club on Thursdays so they are ready for their weekly spelling tests on Fridays,” said Gregory.
Rocking in my Reading Shoes has been a successful program in changing the mindsets of young individuals towards valuing education and enjoying reading. Boys & Girls Clubs thanks all of the people that volunteer their time to make this program possible.
Boys & Girls Clubs prioritize academic success as one of the three main priority areas, in addition to healthy lifestyles and character & citizenship. This reading program fills a gap in the community and ensures Club members have every opportunity to succeed.
"It's not fair to expect young men to know how to act in society without positive role models to instill morals and values at an early age," said Area Director Cameron Bertrand. "Passport to Manhood is a way for us to do just that so they can be the positive, young men they deserve to be."
Passport to Manhood is a program in the Health & Life Skills Core area that was developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The goal of the program is to teach and promote responsibility, reinforce positive behavior, and develop character in adolescent males.
The passage from boyhood to manhood is challenging, requiring adolescent males to understand and manage many issues and transitions, oftentimes without a clear role model. Passport to Manhood addresses critical issues that young men face during this time, such as ethics, decision-making, wellness, ideas about fatherhood, employment, conflict, diversity, and self-esteem.
A large study of 7th- to 12th-grade students found that some of the key motivations for opioid use included sensation-seeking, rule-breaking, and aggressive behaviors, all of which are considered characteristically masculine and are examples of the externalizing behaviors boys may engage in to compensate for social-emotional problems." - Big Boys Don't Cry, Child Trends Blog
Every Club will be running Passport to Manhood this year. The program is open to young males ages 8-18, though they are split into age-appropriate groups. This past summer, the Pinedale Manor Club ran a successful Passport to Manhood group. The program focused on teens, and young men met regularly to discuss the program topics. Staff facilitated two field trips that focused on etiquette, customer service, and personal interactions. The group visited Old Navy, where they learned the history, workplace etiquette, how to interact with customers, but also store processes, including dressing the mannequins, manning the cash register, and stocking inventory. The manager incorporated a discussion of integrity and the importance of one's world.
The second field trip was to Buffalo Wild Wings, where they practiced customer service and first impressions by serving food. This fall, the program at Pinedale Manor will be run by volunteers of the fraternity Omega Psi Phi.
"My favorite part of Passport to Manhood is the topic conversations," said DeSean W., Passport to Manhood participant and 2016 Youth of the Year. "Simply because the topics are things that we think about as growing young men, but are probably too scared or embarrassed to ask We get comfortable with the staff and our brothers, which brings us closer together, and then we can grow together."
According to The Center For Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey, 28.4% of males were involved in a physical fight in the 12 months prior to the survey compared to 16.5% of females.
Boys & Girls Clubs