The Spirit of Giving

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware gears up for the holidays with its “Adopt a Family” program

Written by Alison Pappas

For almost a century, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware have enriched the lives of thousands of local youths at over 42 locations across the state. In addition to before- and after-school care, as well as summer fun clubs and care options over holiday breaks, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware offer more than 60 programs designed to positively impact the lives of local youth and prepare them for successful futures.

“We have programs that encompass a little bit of everything, from sports and fitness to arts and culture and mental health. We support kids from all different backgrounds and demographics,” shared Madeline Milligan, director of marketing and communications.

“After the pandemic, things like learning loss and mental health are especially important now,” Milligan continued. “We work to provide our kids with mentors and individuals at the club that they are comfortable with.”

PURVEYORS OF HOPE
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware offer more than 60 programs designed to positively impact the lives of local youth.

A recent program that has received much praise is the Mini-Farm operation at the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club site in Seaford. Through this program, youth participants have worked with program leaders to build and maintain a community garden that has produced more than 2,000 pounds of food this year. In addition to harvesting the produce grown, the youth involved in this program have learned the significance of growing their own food, as well as specific information about each produce item.

The Oak Orchard branch of the Boys & Girls Club in Millsboro consists of two facilities: One supports preschool-age children; the other is geared to children from 6 to 13 years old. Combined, these two facilities support over 100 Sussex County youth members. In addition to homework help, the Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club hosts various prevention programs, such as Smart Girls and the Passport to Manhood programs. It also hosts a tobacco-prevention class called Smoke Stoppers, as well as other programs designed to empower its youth members to succeed in the future.  

The Sussex County community supports the Oak Orchard site through local business collaborations, donations and volunteering. A noteworthy example of this community-wide support is the Great Futures Fund, which was established in 2018 by a committee of local volunteers. Fundraising from the Great Futures Fund has directly supported the Oak Orchard branch’s building expansion, allowing the club to continue to enroll more children from its waitlist. 

Around the holidays, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware hosts an “Adopt a Family” program. Through this program, individual or group donors are paired with local kids. The donors then purchase items from their paired children’s wish lists. Items on the wish lists typically include specific toys or clothing with size information. 

“For the holiday season, the “Adopt a Family” program is a fantastic way to get involved with our organization. Last year, we had over 200 kids who were ‘adopted’ through this program,” said Milligan.

There are also many opportunities to get involved with Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware on a more regular basis, such as mentoring or assisting with a specific program. If you’re interested in finding out more about opportunities to make a difference at your local chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, please visit bgclubs.org. 

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