Club teens discuss the issues that matter most to young people in their communities, and how they’re working to inspire change.
Boys & Girls Clubs support young people in being active members of their Clubs and communities, elevating their voices on the issues most important to them.
Through Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s partnership with the NFL Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs across the country convene community stakeholders, local government officials and police departments to learn more about social justice issues that impact local communities.
As part of the NFL Inspire Change platform, youth are encouraged to bring their voices to the table. Over the summer, Clubs submitted videos discussing what issues have affected their communities with the hope to bring awareness and change to these problems. Their video submissions highlight the areas where Club youth are committed to inspiring change:
The Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada wanted to tackle a lot of complex social topics in a youth-friendly way, including things like diversity and inclusion, mental health awareness, LGBTQIA+ issues, economic inequality and more. They developed their Young J.E.D.I program, which stands for Justice, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. With Young J.E.D.I, a council of Club youth hosts monthly meetings to discuss challenges kids and teens are facing in today’s world. They welcome every opinion and hear everybody out if it creates a positive force, discussing key issues, action plans and speaking opportunities to further these conversations.
For the teens at JEB Little Creek – Fort Story, their focus is on prevention of teen dating violence – including abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and digital) in teen relationships. Their teen program is working hard to find solutions, including hosting in-depth and candid “teen talks” where counselors, parents and teens talk about respect, consent, and boundaries. As Octavia Y. from the Club explains, “If we start now as teens standing up against domestic violence, we are one step closer to reducing the statistics when we become adults.”
“Gender inequality impacts me by me not being able to do certain things because I’m a girl, such as if I wear certain clothes, act a certain way, or play a certain sport,” said one Club member from the James T. Anderson Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, where their Club is focusing on gender inequality.
They plan to host a public forum to discuss gender inequality, bringing in experts to share information about gender inequality and reform to their young people.
At the Boys & Girls Club at Adams Country, multiple Club members discussed issues involving racism and how they have witness racism at school, on the bus and in other places in their community. They want to bring change into their community and feel youth involvement, learning about history and having open dialogues are critical. They plan to make posters to hang in local businesses and launch a Club newscast on their Facebook page, operated by their teens.
At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, one issue that Club members feel very strongly about is police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement. Club member Layla Green mentions that this issue hits home because a majority of Club members in St. Louis are Black or of African American descent and this issue effects them all, as “sometimes this can be someone’s brother this could be someone’s mother, sister, cousin, anyone.” Their goal is to bring more awareness by doing a town hall with Ferguson police and other community members to discuss this matter along with other pressing issues within the community.
To increase the awareness of these issues, three Clubs were awarded a $10,000 grant to explore these issues in more detail by creating a 15-minute video. Be sure to follow Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channel. Learn more about how youth engage in advocacy projects, video contests and more through our virtual learning platforms.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to creating safe, inclusive places where kids and teens can show up as their full selves, while deepening their understanding and respect for others. As a national organization, we advocate for issues and priorities impacting youth, and we champion young people in becoming their own change agents and advocates at Clubs, locally and nationwide. Learn more about our commitment to youth advocacy: