Charles Day for Kids 2015As our 50th anniversary year ends, I am thankful for the tremendous community support Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas receives. In 1965, The Boys Club of Dallas opened their first Club in West Dallas to improve the lives of youth. Over the next 50 years, we grew from the one Club in West Dallas to the 29 Clubs that comprise Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas today. This year alone, the average daily attendance rose from 1,200 members to 2,000 members.

We are committed to carrying the torch started by our founders because quality afterschool youth education programs remain our priority. In Texas, students in economically disadvantaged areas are more likely to drop out of high school than their middle class peers. Programs like Collegiate STEPS defy those odds and have boasted a 100% high school graduation rate spanning five years.

At the Great Futures Luncheon earlier this month, the expanded Career Ready was announced. This program is among many of BGCD’s outcome-driven afterschool education programs for Dallas youth located in underserved areas. It is an innovative program, targeting 9th – 12th graders, designed to encourage student graduation by engaging those who elect to enter the workforce upon graduation and help them become successfully employed in technical careers. By partnering with AT&T, Urban Land Institute, Young Professionals in Finance and many other local companies, participating youth are exposed to careers in areas such as network support, real estate and land development, entrepreneurship and much more.

For the past nine years, I have had the pleasure of serving as the President and CEO, and I am grateful to have a role in helping our youth reach their potential. It is because of the generosity of our community that BGCD offers innovative programs like Collegiate STEPS and Career Ready. Because of you, we are open every day after school when our youth need us most. You truly make a difference, and I thank you for your continued support.