Boys & Girls Club of Middle Verde
Tutoring Program Helps Teens
At Camp Verde Middle School in Arizona, students with failing grades are required to take part in a before- or after-school tutoring program. But halfway through the school year, few were showing up and the Club Director, Chris Quasala, from the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Verde was very concerned.
“About 75% of students from the community our Club serves – the Yavapai Apache Nation – were failing in school,” he explained.
So for the rest of the year, Chris and the Club’s Activities Director, Cindy Eaton, volunteered and facilitated a lunchtime tutoring program. In four months, the program was deemed a success – 30 percent of the students who participated had passing grades.
“The Boys & Girls Club staff was a great asset to our campus,” said Daria Weir, a school counselor. “The services they brought to the tutoring program helped our students and gave them hands-on learning for a program where we did not have funding. They seem to be always reaching out and offering their services to our school.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Middle Verde has been reaching out to many since it opened a year and a half ago to serve the Yavapai Apache Nation in Verde Valley. Their expansive outreach plan includes not only the 1,500 tribal youth but the tribe and local communities and partners.
“I came as a guest,” said Chris, a member of the Hualapai tribe located north of the Yavapai Apache Nation. “When I met with the tribe and each of the tribal departments, I asked each what they would like to see happen with their youth programs and knew immediately we had the same goals.”
They began working together and jointly offering programs to the tribal youth. It did not take long for the tribe to see results and they are now a significant funder, including the Club in youth program planning.
Kim Secakuku, public relations liaison for the tribe says, “Our relationship with the Club seems to be expanding every day. The Club’s positive and nurturing programs help the youth and they don’t even realize they are learning because they are having so much fun!”
“We have a lot of coordination with the tribe’s cultural programs and the Club’s programs. It is so important our youth understand how they, as tribal people, fit into the community,” Kim explained.
Recently, the Yavapai Apache Nation’s Cultural Department participated in a SMART Girls program. The Club members visited a hair salon in a nearby town on a field trip. There they were taught some traditional grooming skills by some tribal Elders – how to make hairbrushes, shampoo and mud masks. The girls even made their own camp dresses and learned some Native language.
The tribe also recognizes the Club’s strong teen enrollment and according to Kim, provided the opportunity for the tribe to fund programs for this age group and help keep vulnerable teenagers out of trouble.
Chris and his staff work many extra hours to ensure the Club is a positive place for their “180 adopted kids” – but they always strive to balance work time with their own family time. Luckily, the community has embraced the Club staff, frequently including them in potlatches and other gatherings.
The driving force behind the Club staff’s energy is simple and common to Club staff everywhere. Chris summarizes this way: “We do it because we love the kids.
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