In The News
Photo by Wiley Price l St. Louis American
Originally published on www.stlamerican.com
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) and Panda Cares decided to bear down and create the Center of Hope, a culinary and arts space at the Adams Park Club, 4317 Vista Ave. in Tower Grove.
The Center of Hope will provide resources and support through Project Learn, which teaches youths different high-yield and enrichment programs that foster learning toward character building, academic success, and college access, according to Flint Fowler, BGCSTL president.
“Thank you, Panda Cares, for your partnership and supporting the Boys & Girls Club’s mission. The new Center of Hope will positively impact club members,” said Fowler.
Panda Cares, the philanthropic non-profit arm of Panda Express, presented Boys & Girls Clubs with a $10,000 check for the Center of Hope. Panda Express General Manager Tim Chung and Area Coach of Operations/District Manager Leonardo Morales shared free books, and a meal from a local Panda Express with BGCSTL members.
The $10,000 award is an academic scholarship awarded to high school seniors graduating from the COH. Students pursuing an undergraduate degree must enroll full-time at an accredited college or university. The scholarship will be awarded to a minimum of four students, $2500 each. Requirements include:
- Demonstrated financial need – verified by the Club
- Possess a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Plan to be enrolled as a full-time freshman in the fall of the upcoming year attending a US located, four-year, accredited college or university
- Scholarship funds are only to be used for education
In April, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, announced a three-year partnership with the Panda Cares Foundation, which has committed $10.6 million in 2023 to support academic success and positive outcomes for young people.
Since 2020, the Foundation has provided more than $20 million in support to enhance academic programming for Boys & Girls Club youth across the country.
By the end of 2023, the partners will have opened 70 Panda Cares Centers of Hope nationwide providing positive spaces for youth to learn and grow.
Through Project Learn, the Panda Cares Foundation provides funding for youth-centered learning in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.
It Focuses on five main pillars including homework help and tutoring, high yield learning activities, family and community involvement, motivation and incentives and school partnership.
This approach will empower kids and teens to build their character and leadership during their time at the Club.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of America is on a mission to ensure all kids and teens have access to impactful learning experiences and opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential,” said Chrissy Chen, National Director of Youth Development Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
“Thanks to the support from Panda Cares Foundation, our Club professionals will have evidence-based guidance to support academic success programs with a youth-centered learning approach that has a meaningful impact on youth.”
BGCSTL provides after-school, teen, sports, and summer programs to youth across the Bi-State Region. The Clubs serve youth across the region at 12 locations, including Adams Park, Bentwood Townhomes Bethalto Club, Lovejoy Club, Hazelwood Elementary School Club, Herbert Hoover Club, Mathews-Dickey Club, O’Fallon Park Club, Riverview Gardens Club, Hazelwood Southeast Middle School Club, and the Teen Center of Excellence). We also operate Mentor St. Louis and the St. Louis Internship Program.
For more information, click here.
A SLIP Program Success Story
At BGCSTL, we boast about our programs, like the St. Louis Internship Program (SLIP), and we share the numbers to prove its’ success. Celebrating more than 30 years of youth workforce development, we would like to share one of the program’s early success stories.
Trisha Gordon is one of those stellar reasons to brag about SLIP! You would never guess the challenges she overcame at a very young age.
Gordon was born at five and a half months with underdeveloped lungs, heart, and brain. The hospital nurse named her because her parents did not return for her immediately. Gordon said, “She named me – Trisha- which means loyal and committed.”
Gordon did reside with her parents for a while but experienced years of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. She was homeless, placed in foster care, and attempted suicide before age 15. “I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was standing outside Mathews-Dickey when former SLIP lead Gladys Smith said, “What are you doing out here? Come in here and learn about this program!” Trisha went in. Photographers were there, and the Club’s leadership announced the formation of SLIP.
“The program paired students with paid positions at area law firms at that time.” Gordon added, “That is the day that changed my life!”
“I did a good job at the law firm, so I was able to continue working there after my first summer,” Gordon said. She went on to work at the law firm during the summer and after school. Gordon recalled receiving her first payroll check of $651. “I will never forget it. I went out and bought myself a Dooney & Burke purse for $275. My foster Mom was livid!” Gordon said, “My foster Mom called my case worker and said the purse had to go, or I had to go because she was working too hard to put food on the table for me to buy an expensive designer purse.”
A compromise allowed Gordon to keep the designer purse and she agreed to open a bank account and use her earnings to purchase her back-to-school clothes and supplies. “It was a valuable lesson in money management,” said Gordon. Gordon’s earnings from the law firm also financed her cap, gown, and other graduation items. She developed confidence and independence through SLIP. Gordon highlights the strong attributes she gained from her experience.
- Responsibility – learned to utilize an opportunity to take responsibility for getting to work and effectively using public transportation to get to work
- Education – gained first-hand knowledge of the law and the importance of pursuing post-secondary opportunities.
- Financial Literacy— an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the educational requirements for attorneys
- Intensive Workforce Development – Participated in SLIP’s mock trial, giving Gordon hands-on skills for courtroom trial preparation.
- Workforce Professionalism – Learned how to dress for success.
It wasn’t just the intensive workforce development SLIP provided that enabled Gordon’s success, but the supportive staff. Gordon recalls SLIP staffer Linda Reikes, who noticed her squinting to see one day. “She picked me up on a Saturday and took me for an eye examination and my first pair of glasses. Having that kind of support from an adult changed how I approached opportunities. I went into activation mode and took advantage of every opportunity that came my way,” Gordon said.
Gordon did exactly that too. She was busy. Gordon was on the drill team, student government, cheerleading, and Upward Bound. Gordon later became a US Congressional House Page in Washington DC for Congressman William Clay Sr.
“I wasn’t supposed to be at Mathews-Dickey that day, but I saw the kids over there all the time, and I was curious. So I went to see what they were doing.”
Her curiosity about Mathews-Dickey gave her the tools and resources for a great future.
Today, Gordon can brag she has dedicated her career to serving in public and nonprofits for over 30 years. A graduate of Soldan High School, Gordon holds several degrees:
- Bachelor of Science in Political Science/Pre-Law
- Master’s in Business Administration
- Master’s in Human Resource Management
- Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship
Gordon is a lifelong mentor to young girls and women and serves on the Board of Directors for Girls in the Know and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. As one of the authors of GRIT, Gordon is releasing an interactive book this fall while meeting the demands of an extremely hectic list of upcoming speaking engagements. BGCSTL President Flint Fowler said, “We’re proud of Trisha and happy she has shared her story about the impact of SLIP. We hope others will follow Trisha’s path and take advantage of SLIP and other Boys & Girls Club programs that will give them the tools and access they need for a great future. Trisha is a great example of that,” Fowler concluded.
More than 200 families including Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) members received free computers Monday thanks to AT&T working with Compudopt to bridge the digital divide. Families with children in grades K-12 who did not have home computers were eligible to pick up a free, refurbished laptop! Ferguson Mayor Ella Jones and Missouri State Rep. Raychel Proudie (District 73) were on hand to assist with computer distribution. Advance registration was required! What a great day for everyone!
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis Honors
Alumni, Board Members, Community Partners & Staff
at Annual Recognition Event
New Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Honor
ST. LOUIS (June 14, 2023) – Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) celebrated a big night for staff, former Club members, volunteers, and Board Members at the annual Recognition Ceremony at Edward Jones Headquarters. The annual event celebrates the dedicated work of BGCSTL staff, volunteers, Board Members, and former Club members.
A short list of highlighted awards:
Richard H. Amberg Award: Jennifer Call
Cabinet of Life Trustees: Paul Miller
Carl Woods Volunteer of the Year: Michael Daugherty
National Service to Youth (50 years of service): BGCSTL Mathews-Dickey
Club Director Tom Sullivan
Several staff members received recognition for the National Service to Youth in five and ten-year increments.
Here is a complete list of staff members who may not be pictured but received recognition:
- Tyeisha Clark – 5 years
- Nicole Harrell – 5 years
- Everetia Perry – 10 years
- Todd Herron – 5 years
- Susan Lintvedt – 5 years
- Gregory Davis – 15 years
- Danielle Money – 5 years
- Henry Johnson Jr. – 15 years
- Chamaya Steward-Moore – 5 years
- JaLisa Wines – 5 years
- Charles Woods – 20 years
- Jordan McDaniel – 5 years
- LeAnthony Sain – 5 years
- Kylee Short – 5 years
- Service to Youth Award – Board and Life Trustees
- Crystal Gale – 5 years Jerry Garbutt – 20 years
- Leah Reynolds Harris – 5 years
- Vern Remiger – 20 years
- Chonda Nwamu – 5 years
- Barbara Bartley-Turkington – 25 year
BGCSTL President Dr. Flint Fowler said, “All of our honorees tonight are dedicated to youth development, and the Alumni Hall of Honor is the shining example of the work we do to prepare members for Great Futures.” Six former BGCSTL Club members received accolades for their career achievements, community involvement, and accomplishments with an induction into BGCSTL’s Alumni Hall of Honor. Each inductee passionately attested to the Boys & Girls Clubs’ positive impact on their development. The following former club members are now in the BGCSTL Hall of Honor.
- Senator Brian Williams (D-MO) Senate District 14
- Chloe R. Woods – Licensed Attorney, Air Force Veteran, and training facilitator
- Calvin Phillips II – Software Development Manager at Oracle
- Chelsey Selvey – Kiner – UPS Human Resource- GEO Services Specialist
- Ja-Mes “Jay” Watson III – Civil Engineer (Construction)
- Fe’Dale Waters – BGC Club Director/Pathologist
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis is committed to doing whatever it takes to help kids, families, and communities close the opportunity gap, ensuring young people have access to experiences and opportunities that change their lives for the better.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. BGCSTL provides after-school, teen, sports and summer programs to youth across the Bi-State Region while also providing a safe place for them to learn and grow. The Clubs serve youth across the region at twelve locations, including (Adams Park Club, Bentwood Townhomes Club, Boys & Girls Club of Bethalto, Boys & Girls Club of Lovejoy, Hazelwood Elementary School Club, Herbert Hoover Club, Mathews-Dickey Club, O’Fallon Park Club, Riverview Gardens Club, Hazelwood Southeast Middle School Club and the Teen Center of Excellence). We also operate Mentor St. Louis and the St. Louis Internship Program.
Thank you, Advantage Capital St. Louis, for your generous donation presented to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) President Dr. Flint Fowler. Advantage Capital has been a generous donor of BGCSTLs for the past three years. This year, the local office initiated a creative fundraising campaign to support BGCSTL. Senior Associate Beth A. Fore said, “We created fun activities to raise funds between 25 to 30 people in our office. Everyone enjoyed the activities, which included Denim Days, Turkey Day, and Potlucks.” Advantage Capital St. Louis’ support of youth development allows BGCSTL to provide kids & teens with the tools needed to have great futures!
YOUTH OF THE YEAR WINNER ANNOUNCED
AT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF GREATER ST. LOUIS GREAT FUTURES GALA
Zhariah Davis Wins Youth of the Year, $5,000 in Scholarships & A NEW CAR
Over 500 guests and $660,000 raised for Club kids and teens!
St. Louis, MO, November 28, 2022 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) is proud to announce the 2023 Youth of the Year winner is O’Fallon Park Club member Zhariah Davis! Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive and a signature national youth recognition program that celebrates the recipient’s contributions to their family, school, community, and their Boys & Girls Club. The winner was announced under the Big Top at the carnival themed Great Futures Gala, the largest fundraising event for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, which raised $660,000 for Club kids and teens!
Zhariah, age 17, is a senior at Metro Academic and Classical High School and has been a Club member for two years. In addition to winning the Youth of the Year title and the honor of representing the Club as a Teen Ambassador, she received the Michael & Wanda DeHaven $5,000 Scholarship, a celebratory dinner courtesy of the Saint Louis Club, and a car provided by Frank Leta Honda!
Zhariah’s Great Future plans are to pursue higher education and become a Biomedical Engineer. She enjoys the Club’s SMART Girls program the most and is thankful for the support of staff and programming that has helped boost her self-confidence. She says of the Club, “I love being a part of the Boys & Girls Club! Interacting and getting to know kids of different backgrounds and ages played a big role in boosting my confidence and developing better social skills. The staff also played a big role in my character development by making sure I felt safe but also by pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Most importantly, I love the Boys & Girls Club because the Club gives me the big family I’ve always wanted!”
“The Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. All of the honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at the Boys & Girls Clubs. We are so proud of all of this year’s participants who took the time to complete a challenging yet worthwhile process. All possess the ability and ambition to be successful, and should be recognized for their leadership, service, academic achievements and commitment to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Flint Fowler, President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis.
Another special moment in the evening was Daryl Jones from Tri-Tec, Inc. contributing $3,000 to each of the Youth of the Year runner up candidates.
2nd Place winner receiving a $2,500 scholarship is Mathews-Dickey Club member, Lai Joen Williams.
3rd Place winner receiving a $1,000 Scholarship is O’Fallon Park Club member Lailah Green.
4th Place winner receiving a $500 Scholarship is Herbert Hoover Club member Nikell Smith.
Special thanks to Emcee KSDK Rene Knott, the Great Futures Gala committee including event co-chairs, Melanie & Jim Bennett, Jill & Ed Dowd, and Lisa & Joe Bertain. We are also grateful to the following sponsors for their support: Title Sponsor, Dowd Bennett LLP, Presenting Sponsor Emerson, and Plantinum Sponsors Ameren, Edward Jones & Stifel. For more information on how the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis is helping our community, visit www.bgcstl.org.
Generous Donation from Longtime Partner
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) is thrilled to announce that the Taylor Family and Enterprise Holdings will be making a gift of $5 Million dollars to support the recent mergers, combinations and partnerships! It will come in a combined donation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation and the Crawford Taylor Family Foundation.
Mike Andrew, Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Senior Vice President & General Counsel and BGCSTL board member said, “We appreciate the efforts that Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis has undertaken to work with the Mathews-Dickey team to create a unified organization that will serve our region’s youth. As such, we are pleased to continue supporting the work the organization does every day to support the GREAT FUTURES of St. Louis kids and teens.”
Dr. Flint Fowler, President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis says of the gift, “The Taylor Family and Enterprise Holdings have been longtime supporters and partners of BGCSTL and the youth we serve. Their generous gifts throughout the years have helped us to support and retain staff; enhance transportation; support events; establish the Teen Center of Excellence; and so much more. Without their ongoing support many of the initiatives and programs BGCSTL puts in place for our youth would be limited and we are very thankful for their generosity.”
St. Louis Internship Program Celebrates 30 Years – Over 4,200 Interns Served!
In 2020, BGCSTL finalized its merger with the St. Louis Internship Program (SLIP), a seasoned workforce development program in the St. Louis area. For nearly 30 years, SLIP has provided results-oriented career and college readiness experiences for area youth. SLIP’s goal is to provide hope and opportunity for high school students through paid summer internships, intensive employability training, and year-round college and career planning. SLIP works in partnership with businesses and community organizations, to build the St. Louis community by developing motivated, well-trained, and talented youth for the workforce.
Leading St. Louis business partners who have participated in the program include Emerson, Polsinelli PC, Cushman & Wakefield, Lashly & Baer, RubinBrown, SM Wilson, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Thompson Coburn, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Armstrong Teasdale and Armanino.
Mark Levison is an attorney with Lashley & Baer PC, a member of the Board of Directors for BGCSTL, and a founding Board member of the St. Louis Internship Program. He commented, “Over thirty years ago I got together with Tim Hullverson and several other lawyers with the idea to equip over 50 students with paid internships. We were able to hire and outfit 52 students and today the program has spread to over 37 different cities and we’ve served over 4,200!”
Since its founding in 1992, over 4,200 students have completed the program. Ninety-eight percent have successfully acquired skills, graduated high school and pursued career goals. The interns are recruited from schools all over the city (private, parochial, charter and public).
Dr. Flint Fowler, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis president says of the anniversary, “I am excited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the St. Louis Internship Program. Career readiness and youth employment are critical components of our youth development process. We are fortunate to have this proven program as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs operation.”
Deionna Ferguson, Associate at Polsinelli and SLIP Alum, attributed her career success to the program, saying, “SLIP has truly been my pipeline to success. SLIP not only exposed me to the legal field by allowing me to intern with a law firm in the area, but they also provided me with useful life skills such as networking, professional etiquette and interview skills. When preparing for college, SLIP allowed me to receive specialized tutoring for the ACT test and even allowed me to complete a second internship in my field of study, psychology. SLIP has always been there for me and ensured that I had all the tools I needed to be successful. I truly would not be the attorney that I am today had it not been for the exposure and training I received from the St. Louis Internship Program.”
More than 98% of SLIP interns graduate high school and go on to college or other post-secondary training programs
Over 75% increase in work readiness and career development skills
Interns complete 60 hours of work readiness training
100% participating students feel better prepared for post-secondary planning
Over 4,200 Interns have completed value added internships while building their professional network
Annually, more than $300,000 of interns wages are recycled back into our regional economy as interns become productive, tax-paying citizens
Companies interested in partnering with the St. Louis Internship Program or students wanting to participate, contact Shanise Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or bgcstl.org/slip for more information. To view photos from the 30th Celebration, click here.
GREAT FUTURES MOMENT
JIM BUTLER MEMORIAL GOLF CLASSIC RAISES OVER $325K FOR CLUB KIDS & TEENS
Thanks to the committee, sponsors, players and volunteers who joined us at Norwood Hills Country Club for a day of golf supporting Great Futures for BGCSTL youth at the Jim Butler Memorial Golf Classic! Over $325,000 was raised for Club kids, teens and programs!
At the tournament, two Herbert Hoover Club teens, 17 year old Kiari E. and 12 year old Kanani E. were presented with the Jim Butler Sportsmanship Award, established in honor of the namesake of this year’s golf tournament as a testament to his dedication to the mission to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis and the children and families we serve. Thanks to the generosity of the Butler/Sowers Family and Jim’s friends throughout the area, his legacy will live on through this annual award to inspire and enable our youth to achieve their full potential. The winners also received a $500 scholarship.
To view more photos from the event, click here.
WLC Wednesday SNAPS!
This week we’re giving snaps to Women’s Leadership Circle leader Karen Middleton. She grew up in Saint Louis and remembers taking swim lessons at the Club.
Occupation: Bonds Trader
Favorite Children’s Book: The Velveteen Rabbit
Favorite Snack: Chocolate covered strawberries
Pets: Pearl, 7-year-old Shih Tzu
Advice to yourself: Stay in the moment (you never know when a moment becomes a precious memory)
What do you want women to know about the WLC?
I want women to know that the WLC is an organization comprised of smart, creative, and driven women who are determined and committed to uplifting and improving the lives of the children of the Boys & Girls Club of greater St. Louis.
What is your favorite event, or memory from a WLC event?
My favorite event so far is our signature Table For 4 event held this year at The Ritz Carlton. The energy in the room was electric and our mission was clear…to give from our hearts so we can meet the needs of deserving and talented kids who simply need an opportunity to showcase their abilities.
Why do you support Boys & Girls Club of STL?
I support the Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis because I feel we are all here to serve and help those who we encounter on our life’s journey. For me, that looks like giving myself, my time, and resources to better the lives of our youth.
Interested in learning more about the Women’s Leadership Circle? Contact Failona Collins, Failona@bgcstl.org.