Kevin Deary

Kevin Deary

As the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County, I witness people making a difference in their communities firsthand every day. Our ability to put aside our differences and help our fellow man should be celebrated, not forgotten. As we grapple with the impact of coronavirus on our lives and those around us, our nation faces a myriad of uncertainties. Before the pandemic, many children in our community faced the uncertainty of where their next meal would come from, and gaps in educational attainment and achievement. Working families already struggled to access childcare. The ongoing public health crisis has only amplified those uncertainties. Indiana Boys & Girls Clubs are well-positioned to address the challenges children and families are currently facing. Each summer, our Clubs provide educational support and programs to help prevent summer learning loss. One of these programs, Indiana Kids, is a comprehensive youth development skill-building program that assists Hoosier children and teens with after-school and summer support. In addition to reading and math instruction, children also learn about college, career, job readiness, workforce skills development, leadership development, and volunteerism. Since 2006, Indiana Boys & Girls Clubs have served more than 66,000 Hoosier children and teens through the Indiana Kids program. Statewide, Boys & Girls Clubs’ Indiana Kids participants have had an average increase of 56% in reading and 60% in math during the last program year. Unfortunately, the Indiana Kids program that has made a difference in the lives of thousands of Indiana youth is facing elimination. Funding for the Indiana Kids program will terminate at the end of September 2020. Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s commitment to the youth we serve, and our community only gets stronger in times of crisis. We recognized that this pandemic was going to have devastating effects throughout our area. We, as local leaders, were uniquely positioned to do all we could to help. We implemented virtual programming, provided meal services, kept in touch with families and adapted to serve kids in new ways during the shutdown. We’ve implemented new health procedures and safety protocols and revamped our program to provide kids a safe, socially distanced, summer experience. Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s commitment to the youth we serve, and our community only gets stronger in times of crisis. But that resolve can only get us so far in the face of lost revenue, financial instability, and an ever-increasing demand for our services. But that resolve can only get us so far in the face of lost revenue, financial instability, and an ever-increasing demand for our services. And we are not the only nonprofit struggling. Many of our fellow organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs organizations statewide, are also facing difficult decisions. How can we afford to keep providing vital services and aid to our community while also keeping our doors open, staff compensated, and resources stocked? How can we afford not to? I can’t stress enough the dire straits many nonprofits are in right now. Nonprofits such as ours must get the support we need if we are to continue serving our community and help our nation recover once this is over. It’s not just how we respond to a crisis; it’s how we rebuild following it. Nonprofits are a constant and comforting presence during crises. They will continue to be, but we can’t do it without the support of our community and elected officials. Please tell your state legislators and Gov. Holcomb: Nonprofits help us in times of need, let’s help them in theirs. Restore Boys & Girls Club funding. I urge every member of our community to reach out to their state legislators and Gov. Holcomb to provide relief for charities and funding for critical programs like Indiana Kids. By speaking with a united voice, we can make ourselves heard. We can ensure that the youth development, health, and community-building programs in our area continue to be supported, and our communities can continue to thrive. We are facing a $2.2M cut in this funding, and we need your help to keep it. We must ensure that youth — and the Boys & Girls Clubs that serve them — have the resources they need to recover and thrive during and after this pandemic. The time is NOW to email, call, and tweet your state legislators to make sure they prioritize our youth. Please help us by contacting your elected officials. Kevin Deary is the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.

As the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County, I witness people making a difference in their communities firsthand every day. Our ability to put aside our differences and help our fellow man should be celebrated, not forgotten. As we grapple with the impact of coronavirus on our lives and those around us, our nation faces a myriad of uncertainties.

Before the pandemic, many children in our community faced the uncertainty of where their next meal would come from, and gaps in educational attainment and achievement. Working families already struggled to access childcare. The ongoing public health crisis has only amplified those uncertainties.

Indiana Boys & Girls Clubs are well-positioned to address the challenges children and families are currently facing. Each summer, our Clubs provide educational support and programs to help prevent summer learning loss.

One of these programs, Indiana Kids, is a comprehensive youth development skill-building program that assists Hoosier children and teens with after-school and summer support. In addition to reading and math instruction, children also learn about college, career, job readiness, workforce skills development, leadership development, and volunteerism. Since 2006, Indiana Boys & Girls Clubs have served more than 66,000 Hoosier children and teens through the Indiana Kids program. Statewide, Boys & Girls Clubs’ Indiana Kids participants have had an average increase of 56% in reading and 60% in math during the last program year.

Unfortunately, the Indiana Kids program that has made a difference in the lives of thousands of Indiana youth is facing elimination. Funding for the Indiana Kids program will terminate at the end of September 2020.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s commitment to the youth we serve, and our community only gets stronger in times of crisis. We recognized that this pandemic was going to have devastating effects throughout our area. We, as local leaders, were uniquely positioned to do all we could to help. We implemented virtual programming, provided meal services, kept in touch with families and adapted to serve kids in new ways during the shutdown. We’ve implemented new health procedures and safety protocols and revamped our program to provide kids a safe, socially distanced, summer experience.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s commitment to the youth we serve and our community only gets stronger in times of crisis. But that resolve can only get us so far in the face of lost revenue, financial instability, and an ever-increasing demand for our services.

But that resolve can only get us so far in the face of lost revenue, financial instability, and an ever-increasing demand for our services. And we are not the only nonprofit struggling. Many of our fellow organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs organizations statewide, are also facing difficult decisions.

How can we afford to keep providing vital services and aid to our community while also keeping our doors open, staff compensated, and resources stocked? How can we afford not to? I can’t stress enough the dire straits many nonprofits are in right now. Nonprofits such as ours must get the support we need if we are to continue serving our community and help our nation recover once this is over. It’s not just how we respond to a crisis; it’s how we rebuild following it.

Nonprofits are a constant and comforting presence during crises. They will continue to be, but we can’t do it without the support of our community and elected officials. Please tell your state legislators and Gov. Holcomb: Nonprofits help us in times of need, let’s help them in theirs. Restore Boys & Girls Club funding.

I urge every member of our community to reach out to their state legislators and Gov. Holcomb to provide relief for charities and funding for critical programs like Indiana Kids. By speaking with a united voice, we can make ourselves heard. We can ensure that the youth development, health, and community-building programs in our area continue to be supported, and our communities can continue to thrive.

We are facing a $2.2M cut in this funding, and we need your help to keep it. We must ensure that youth — and the Boys & Girls Clubs that serve them — have the resources they need to recover and thrive during and after this pandemic. The time is NOW to email, call, and tweet your state legislators to make sure they prioritize our youth. Please help us by contacting your elected officials.

Kevin Deary is the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.

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