Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, Boys & Girls Clubs have done whatever it takes to support youth, families and communities.
The safety of youth remains the No. 1 priority of more than 4,700 Clubs across the nation, which means Clubs have been agile in adapting services to meet the evolving needs of young people over the past 18 months.
From creating community-feeding meal programs to providing virtual learning support and devices to help kids succeed during an at-home or hybrid schoolyear, Clubs continue to meet kids where they are during the pandemic.
As COVID-19 vaccines became available in 2021 and eligibility continues to expand, Clubs are working to remove barriers to healthcare for their local communities, supporting vaccine education and awareness with their staff, families and youth.
Mobility, varying state guidelines around eligibility, and access to internet and Wi-Fi can all create barriers and questions around vaccine safety and availability. Historical inequities and trauma within healthcare can also play a role in people’s understanding of and experience with vaccines.
As trusted community leaders, Clubs created diverse ways of supporting their communities in understanding the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines – from distributing educational resources to hosting local events and vaccination clinics to support awareness, education and access.
- The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County in Naples, Florida created a Town Hall with a panel of local healthcare professionals who answered community questions around the vaccine.
- Pennsylvania-based Boys & Girls Club of Chester joined forces with their local children’s hospital and their city’s Bureau of Health to run a “Vaxx-it-ball Clinic” – a basketball clinic designed to help youth ages 12+ understand and discuss the vaccine.
- In Metro Los Angeles, Clubs partnered with local medical providers to host in-person vaccination sites – helping to facilitate more than 7,000 vaccinations in their community.
National partners also pitched in to help Clubs’ efforts go further. With the support of the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, 28 Clubs in Florida, California, Texas and Pennsylvania served as vaccination sites and provided critical advocacy and education on the COVID-19 vaccine through informative resources, events, townhalls and education seminars. To help incentivize vaccine education programs at local Clubs and support vaccination clinics for youth ages 12 and up, Microsoft partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to donate 1,725 new Xbox consoles to hard-hit communities.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the long-term impacts come into focus, it is imperative that we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure Clubs and communities can emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We are committed to ensuring Club staff, kids, families and communities where we live and work have the resources and support they need throughout COVID-19 so that we can continue to serve youth safely.”
As anchors of communities across the nation, Boys & Girls Clubs continue to provide supports and solutions to help communities not only recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but thrive.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in this video that Clubs are sharing with their local communities.