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learn / 2021

BGCP ClubHouse Initiative

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena

Through the ClubHouse Initiative, BGCP has transformed members’ experience at the Club during COVID-19 into an engaging, community-building opportunity that fosters a sense of belonging and sparks creativity and learning. Club members’ self-contained small groups are transformed into Houses, chosen based on cultural identity and positive values, which work together on enrichment and educational projects and compete in weekly challenges. LA2050 would support expansion of the Initiative and the creation of a toolkit to share with others.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • San Gabriel Valley

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

The problem that BGCP is addressing with the ClubHouse Initiative is the social disconnection experienced by children in the Pasadena community as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. When the Club was planning its reopening in the summer of 2020, Club staff connected with local families to identify children’s needs that the Club could play a role in meeting. Among the primary issues identified were children’s feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. BGCP staff also consulted relevant research on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children’s mental health. The ClubHouse Initiative was developed as a way for the Club to create these needed social connections and foster a sense of belonging during this crisis, areas which research indicates are key in restoring children’s mental health during and following the pandemic.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The ClubHouse Initiative was born out of the need to re-design the Club experience in response to COVID-19. When BGCP’s Clubhouses reopened last summer, BGCP created small, self-contained, socially distanced “pods” at each Clubhouse with a dedicated staff member. Each pod belongs to one of several Houses, which are diverse in their identity and positive values. For example, the Amistad House evokes Spanish heritage and fosters friendship and self-discovery. Weekly, Club members in their Houses work on group projects which develop skills and knowledge, foster collaboration, and reinforce academic concepts. Projects culminate in weekly challenges, where Houses present their learning and compete for points based on participation and collaboration. Projects have focused on racial justice, Hispanic heritage, education, ecology, fitness, and space exploration. House challenges occur via Google Hangout, so that pods can remain in their areas, and both Clubhouses can participate together. Through the Houses, members deepen their social connections and build their sense of belonging, areas identified in research as key to sustaining children’s mental health. BGCP piloted this Initiative last summer and continued it this school year based on positive feedback. BGCP seeks to expand the Initiative and continue it beyond COVID-19. Specifically, the Club plans to design more STEM-related challenges, with Houses showcasing scientific experiments and careers available in the STEM fields.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

250
Direct impact
10,000
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

LA County will be improved if our work is successful, because the ClubHouse Initiative is designed to strengthen Club members’ mental health and academic success. LA County will also be improved because other organizations will have access to BGCP’s best practices to launch their own programs. There are two main criteria to gauge the success of the ClubHouse Initiative. The first is a year-over-year increase in members’ sense of belonging at the Club. This is important because a strong sense of belonging is a critical factor in children’s mental health. It is also a strong indicator of continued Club attendance, which reaps additional benefits, including increased high school graduation rates (BGCP seniors have had a 100% on-time graduation rate for several years) and increased academic proficiency. The second criterion for success will be the full development of a ClubHouse Initiative toolkit by March 2022, which will be freely available to interested youth-serving organizations.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

BGCP assesses members annually across a host of indicators through the National Youth Outcomes Initiative (NYOI) of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Surveys assess members’ Club experiences, academic progress, and other areas. BGCP has seen promising results after implementing the ClubHouse Initiative. The Fall 2020 member responses in the areas of Sense of Belonging, Overall Club Experience, and others are the highest yet. Key outcomes include: • Overall Club Experience - 96% ranked as “optimal” or “fair,” compared with 72% in 2019 • Sense of Belonging: People listen to me here - 98% agreed or strongly agreed, compared with 80% in 2019 • Sense of Belonging: People at this Club accept me for who I am - 98% agreed or strongly agreed, compared with 87% in 2019 These results illustrate the positive impact that BGCP is having on members during this difficult time. BGCP expects by 2022 to maintain these historic gains, and to increase to 98% members’ “optimal” or “fair” Club experience.

Which of the learn metrics will you impact?​

  • Enrollment in afterschool programs
  • High school graduation rates
  • Proficiency in STEM

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to PLAY
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE