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Denzel Washington and Martin Sensmeier Support BGCA in Los Angeles

BGCA Spokesperson Denzel Washington and Ambassador Martin Sensmeier (Tlingit and Koyukon-Athabascan) joined others at an event last week to raise awareness and support for the merger of several Los Angeles-area Boys & Girls Clubs, or the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro LA.

Sensmeier later posted on his Facebook page, “As an Ambassador of the Boys and Girls Clubs and the representative for all Native Clubs it is an honor to be a part of something that helps so many of our youth... I am deeply humbled, honored, and excited to have been asked to help the BGCA reach more of our native youth across the nation.”

Washington and Sensmeier, both alumni of Boys & Girls Clubs, continue to find ways to give back to other youth through their support of the BGCA.

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Understanding AmeriCorps: The A-B-BGCIC’S


A is for AmeriCorps VISTA

AmeriCorps is essentially an umbrella that encompasses many National Service programs, all sponsored by the Corporation for National & Community Service.

AmeriCorps VISTA is one National Service program that places full time volunteers in yearlong service positions. What does VISTA mean? VISTA stands for ‘Volunteers in Service to America’. Approximately over 8,000 VISTA members serve from approximately 1,100 sponsoring organizations, live and serve in the rural and urban areas that need it most. With passion, commitment, and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.

Photo: VISTAs all over the country gathered at events this year to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of AmeriCorps VISTA.  

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The Taproot Foundation's New Online Marketplace

The Taproot Foundation connects nonprofits like your Club with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Through the foundation’s Taproot+ program, business professionals deliver no-cost solutions to organizations through a matching process managed by the Taproot Foundation. Their new online marketplace allows nonprofit organizations to access highly skilled marketing, IT, HR, finance, and strategy professionals across the country at any time.

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The Season of Giving: TOMS Shoes for the Native Youth of Oklahoma

The end of the year is often associated with festive decorations, tasty treats, and spreading joy to others. Several thousands of youth experienced joy this past November from one initiative that believes in the power of kindness. Through the generosity of TOMS Shoes One for One program, 5,000 pairs of TOMS shoes were provided to Native Boys & Girls Clubs located throughout the state of Oklahoma. As a result of a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Native Services Unit, each Native Boys & Girls Club organization in the state was invited to the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata, which was selected as the TOMS distribution center, to retrieve their donation of shoes.

Known as the One for One company, TOMS was founded on the principal of giving to others. The TOMS Shoes One for One program is an initiative that matches every purchase of TOMS merchandise with a gift of shoes, sight, water, safe birth, and bullying prevention services to people who need it most in the U.S. and 70 other countries worldwide. The organization is dedicated to providing shoes to Native youth, and their first domestic Giving Partner was the Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA). According to the PWNA, TOMS provided new shoes and boots to Native American students from several reservations in 2014.

Thank you to TOMS One for One program and the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata for making this opportunity possible for Native youth throughout many Oklahoma communities!

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Build Culturally Competent Mentoring Programs with Help from MENTOR

Cultural competence is an important topic related to mentoring! MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership hosted a webinar event entitled Cultural and Class Conflict in Mentoring Matches: Strategies for Building the Culturally Competent Mentoring Organization and Professional to help give Clubs new strategies to build competence around culture!

The Cultural and Class Conflict in Mentoring Matches webinar provided many strategies worth exploring, and discussed the idea that “different isn’t [a] deficient; it’s just different!” The sometimes uncomfortable subject of challenges around race, class, and culture was broken down into easy-to-understand, thoughtful sections with take-away ideas that can easily be integrated into Club mentoring programs everywhere!

Take a look at these five key strategies to see what could work best in your Club!