By: Sean Tasse

Giving Back to the Community

Tags: ottawa boys and girls club

Our team is grateful for the continued success of our business; however, we understand that many people in our community struggle as the pandemic and the associated lockdowns continue. As a result, we want to give back to different charities within our community, and we challenge you to do the same!  
 
This month, we are donating to Ottawa’s Boys and Girls Club. The Boys and Girls Club is an integral part of our city, and their programming is especially important now that the pandemic has hit. Please take a moment to read about all of the ways the Boys and Girls Club is working to help kids in our community and then click the link to donate.  
 
 https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/boys-and-girls-club-of-ottawa/ 
 
We recently chatted with a Representative of the Boys and Girls Club, and asked a few questions:
 
Q: How has the pandemic affected resources and accessibility for kids?  
 
A: When the pandemic measures began in March 2020, we were all impacted. The day-to-day operations of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa were significantly altered. We needed to be strategic, innovative, and act quickly—and we did—thanks to special funding and community support. 
 
Two essential COVID-19 related initiatives were launched: The Neighbourhood Ambassador Program and the Virtual Clubhouse. 
 
As an expansion of our existing outreach efforts through the Youth Outreach Worker program, our staff are directly working in vulnerable neighborhoods during COVID-19, through our Neighbourhood Ambassador Program. We help coordinate access to services, provide direct engagement and dissemination of key messages related to the pandemic along with the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health to ensure families and kids don’t fall through the cracks. 
 
Since March 2020, we have also rolled out an online version of our Clubhouse programming—the Virtual Clubhouse. Nothing could replace visiting in-person at one of our locations; however, the online site offers recipes, activities, art ideas, and other live classes to home-based learners. The Virtual Clubhouse has allowed us to reach families that are brand-new to the BGCO family. 
 
This year we have also established a new partnership with Notre Dame High School for a satellite location. This means that more young people in the west-end social housing neighbourhoods of Britannia Woods, Caldwell, Foster Farm, Michele Heights, and Winthrop Court, will benefit from our programming. 
 
Q: What percentage of kids in Ottawa turn to the Boys and Girls Club?  
 
A: The City of Ottawa has outlined key neighbourhoods that are considered vulnerable and needing resources for youth.Currently, the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa has three clubhouses (a fourth clubhouse – Heatherington will be built by end of 2021) and four satellite locations.  We help on average 4500 children each year, with the goal of doubling our impact to almost 10,000 by 2024. 
 
Q: How can people help? Donate? Raise money? Time? 
 
A: Currently, we need more resources to keep our clubhouses safe as we offer in-person services. Plus, we are expanding our virtual offerings and our Neighbourhood Ambassador program that meets kids right where they live. Every donation makes a huge difference for children and youth. 
 
 Don’t forget – any amount helps! Until next time, STYFiRE out!