Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia Receive Grant from Allstate Foundation

Roanoke, Virginia (BGCSWVA) August 5th, 2016 – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia are proud to announce the receipt of a grant from the Allstate Foundation totaling $10,000.00. The grant is received as part of our Youth Empowerment Programs: Keystone and Torch Clubs. The Keystone and Torch Club focus on youth led programming, empowering youth to make decisions for themselves under staff guidance. 

Keystone is BGCA’s premier teen leadership program and is focused on teens from age 14 to age 18. The goal is to meet teens’ vitally important needs for positive group experiences. Our area of focus is to provide opportunities for teens to make leadership decisions, engage in academic and career experiences, and serve others.

Keystone Club has three levels: Basic Keystone offers programs and activities that provide leadership opportunities in academic success efforts, career preparation initiatives, and/or community service (the “three focus areas”). These programs and activities may be for small groups or large enough to involve all BGCSWVA teens. 

The Silver Keystone effort holds weekly meetings to plan and offer programs and activities in the three focus areas for other BGC members or community teens. Participation in one or more of the following national service initiatives is required: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, Global Youth Service Day, United We Serve, National Day of Service and Remembrance, Worldwide Day of Play, The Big Help, and National Family Week.

The Gold Keystone initiative conducts larger-scale programs/activities in each of the three focus areas, at least one of which must include teens from outside the Club and provides opportunities for participation in annual national Keystone projects.

Torch Club: Torch Club is for BGC members ages 11 through 14 and designed to help them learn to enrich their lives and the lives of others through service, leadership, and the development of good character. The program is a powerful vehicle through which BGC staff helps meet the special needs of younger adolescents at a critical stage in their development. Torch Club members meet weekly to learn to work together to plan and implement activities in four areas: service to Club and community, education, health and fitness, and social recreation.

Through service activities, Torch Club members identify Club and community needs, develop programs and activities and actively participate in their community. These activities provide experience in the democratic process and give young people a chance to contribute something of value to others. Among others, Torch Club service activities include peer mentoring programs, adopt-a-grandparent programs, food and clothing drives, community clean-ups and beautification projects, and environmental awareness campaigns.

Torch Club members also take part in educational activities that focus on personal development. These activities develop socialization, problem-solving, communications, goal-setting, and decision-making skills. The objective of the Torch Club is to help pre-teens and very early teens develop a moral compass and value qualities such as honesty, justice, fairness, and respect for self and others.

We are very grateful for the support received from the Allstate Foundation and look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership!

Please contact Libby Dembski at ldembski@bgcswva.org or (540) 904-7401 for information regarding volunteering or any additional inquiries.