GUEST COMMENTARY: Invest your time, money for our children

2014-04-13T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Invest your time, money for our childrenBy Ryan Smiley nwitimes.com
April 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

During National Boys & Girls Clubs Week, 4,000 plus communities across the nation, including Porter County, celebrated the important work of their local Boys & Girls Clubs – impacting young lives, every day, every week – all year long!

It was even more significant this year, as our local organization – Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County – undertakes a campaign with a special emphasis on increasing support from individual volunteers and donors in our community.

When it comes to our kids, we usually think of them in a home, with a solid family life and parental guidance, as the answer to supporting and protecting them. And many of our club members are fortunate enough to have this kind of home. But for too many children in America, including our Porter County communities, there is a gap. Research indicates the hours of 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. as the most dangerous time of day for young people. This is when crime involving youth doubles – as they leave school and return to an empty household or neighborhood street completely unsupervised.

Providing after-school programs in every community is a simple answer in helping our youth to make conscious and well-meaning decisions affecting their successful futures. Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County helps keep children safe, involves them in life-enhancing experiences with caring adults and meaningful challenges, and supports their decisions so they can better deal with issues that affect them at their young age.

We, at Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, believe every child and teen should be involved in a safe, structured, supervised after-school program. Boys & Girls Clubs celebrate the accomplishments of our children and invite the public in to see what we do. I ask all parents, educators, caregivers, and community leaders to stop and consider what more can be done to make all of our children safe during non-school hours.

One tangible step is to make an annual investment in after-school programming offered by organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County. Giving one’s time, talent, and treasure is not just a gift that is placed on a shelf, but an investment in our communities’ most precious resource – our children.

For more information on Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, contact (219) 464-7282.

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