ATLANTA, GA., September 19, 2016 – The New York Life Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) announced today an expansion of their national partnership to help Club staff better serve grieving youth through trainings and technical support. Through the Foundation’s $3 million grant, BGCA will increase member access to youth and grief resources by expanding “Be There: A National Grief and Bereavement Initiative” to 90 clubs over the next four years. This increase in support will enable Club staff to recognize the signs of a grieving child or teen and equip them with the skills to support the emotional needs of youth facing adversity, such as loss of a loved one.
Be There is a comprehensive initiative that targets four key groups connected to Clubs: youth, staff, family and community. The curriculum model, created by the National Alliance for Grieving Children, teaches Club staff strategies on how to address grief and how to respond to more common social and emotional challenges, including betrayal of a friend and transitioning between grade levels. Be There also helps connect families with local outside resources and professionals to assist with additional care. This initiative is especially critical for at-risk youth who often live in communities with limited grief counseling resources.
“Boys & Girls Clubs work to identify the physical, emotional and social areas of need for the kids and teens we serve, while providing services and programs that support and nurture their overall well- being,” said Jim Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Grief and bereavement services are essential to total wellness, which is why the continuation of our partnership with the New York Life Foundation is critical to providing our Clubs and professional staff the resources they need to support their young people. Thanks to the New York Life Foundation, we can continue to develop young people’s ability to live a healthy lifestyle physically, but also emotionally.”
The $3 million investment made by the New York Life Foundation, will also enable BGCA to build the Ready, Set, Action program, a strength-based curriculum developed by the PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resiliency that builds Club members’ competence and resilience.
"We are thrilled to build upon our longstanding partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of America by amplifying the Be There initiative and supporting the launch of the Ready, Set, Action program," said New York Life Foundation President Heather Nesle. "When bereaved children lack outlets to express their grief, they often keep their feelings inside, leading to a wide range of social-emotional issues. These new and expanded programs will offer a much-needed source of empathy, help and guidance to grieving youth – including critical support from their peers.”
The New York Life Foundation has supported BGCA for more than two decades. In 2011, BCGA launched the “Be There: A National Grief and Bereavement Initiative” through a generous $1 million grant from the New York Life Foundation. Through this partnership, BGCA will continue to build awareness and knowledge of childhood bereavement and create a culture where grieving youth and their families are supported. To learn more about BCGA’s programs, visit www.greatfutures.org.
ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.greatfutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours.
Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
ABOUT THE NEW YORK LIFE FOUNDATION
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided $220 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.