Creating Spaces for Youth to Thrive

 

Academic failure, drug use, bullying, teen pregnancy, crime, depression, and obesity—these are just a few of the challenges the youngest in our communities face. The troubling circumstances of our youth are often the outcome of widespread and chronic social issues that include persistent poverty, ill-equipped parents, social inequities, and a lack of support systems or resources.

These supports and resources can come in many different forms. Safe and supervised spaces are one example that also happens to be in high demand. According to a research report by the Afterschool Alliance, in communities across the United States, “11.3 million children are without supervision between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.,” meaning 1 in 5 children do not have someone to care for them after school.

In the absence of positive influences and safe spaces, many youngsters find other, often negative, ways to fill their time. This furthers the struggle to manage the sometimes life-long mental and physical effects of neglect. The harsh reality of our youth crisis has galvanized youth-serving organizations and initiatives to address the issues head-on.

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Here in northern Arizona, we are fortunate to have one of these organizations. The Boys and Girls Club of Flagstaff (BGCF) is dedicated to providing accessible, culturally aware and community-based support so that more youth can thrive. Their Healthy Lifestyles Program, funded by our Foundation in 2018, was designed to improve the overall health of our youth through engaging activities that address diabetes and the obesity epidemic, promote healthy practices and prevent risky behaviors including sexual activity and substance abuse.

Through Healthy Lifestyles, the BGCF has already impacted 100 of the projected 300 participants in the Flagstaff, Holbrook, and Winslow communities. However, BGCF is doing more than providing safe spaces, caring relationships, and transformational learning experiences. They are fostering foundations for resiliency and sustained life-long health, and we are so honored to be supporting them in this work.

If you are interested in learning more about how BGCF is positively impacting youth in northern Arizona or about purpose-driven charitable giving, please contact Matt Brasmer by calling 928.213.6538 or emailing matthew.brasmer@nahealth.com or visit our website nahealthfoundation.org/donate.

 
Sandra KowalskiComment