Our Programs

Character & Leadership

Supporting their Club and Community | Sustaining Relationships | Developing a Positive Self-Image | Respecting Others

Torch and Keystone Clubs: These small-group leadership and service clubs for adolescents give members a chance to elect officers, plan and implement activities, and contribute something of value to others. Activities involve service to Club and community, leadership development, education and career exploration, unity, free enterprise, and social interaction.

Youth of the Year - This premier annual awards program recognizes Club members for their involvement, contributions, and academic performance. Each Club selects a Youth of the Year (ages 14 to 18) and Junior Youth of the Year (ages 11-13). Winners write essays and speak publicly to support their nomination for the Chicago Youth of the Year. The winner then participates in regional and national Youth of the Year competitions for chances to win scholarships and trips to Washington, D.C., to meet the President.

Mentoring - A partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs members with adult mentors who meet once a week at the Club to provide academic and moral support, encouragement, and guidance.

Education & Career

Giving Kids a Safe Haven to Learn and Study Providing Opportunities to Enhance Education | Exploring Career Aspirations | Guiding Them to Exceed Their Potential

Power Hour - Homework help and tutoring is available to Club members to support their education and continuation in school.

Money Matters - This financial literacy program supported by the Charles Schwab Foundation teaches teens how to manage their money so they become financially responsible and independent. Members learn to balance checking accounts, budget, save, invest, and explore entrepreneurship and how to pay for college.

College Prep - Guidance for older teen members as they explore opportunities for higher education -- researching colleges, preparing for standardized tests, writing college essays, taking college tours and navigating financial assistance.Youth Employment - Support for teen members to build professional skills and gain experience in job and internship opportunities. Includes career counseling, training, internships, job placement, and academic assistance.

Health & Life Skills
Cultivating Self-Respect | Living Healthy | Setting Goals | Making Good Decisions

SMART Moves - Helps young people positively handle the peer pressure of substance abuse or premature sexual involvement. More than simply emphasizing a "Say No" message, the program uses discussion and role-playing to develop assertiveness, resistance and refusal skills and positive outcomes.

Healthy Habits - The Healthy Habits program provides youth with knowledge, skills and motivation to make healthier food choices and to increase activity levels. The Healthy Habits curriculum reinforces the relationship between behaviors, choices and health. Young people learn how to determine foods' nutritional value; portion size; environmental cues that prompt eating; and how to eat away from home. Lessons are underscored by the 345,600 nutritious meals served by BGCC each year as well as activities that ensure all youth participate in 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

SMART Girls - A health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program for girls ages 8 to 17.
The program is designed to encourage healthy attitudes and lifestyles that will enable young women to develop to their full potential.

Passport to Manhood - Promotes and teaches responsibility for young male Club members ages 11 to 14. Small-group discussions address critical issues for young men, such as ethics, decision making, wellness, fatherhood, employment and careers, cooperation and conflict, diversity, relationships and self-esteem.

StreetSMART - Counseling young people how to effectively resist gangs and violence, resolve conflicts and be positive peer helpers in their communities.

UPS Road Code® - Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three teenage deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The UPS Foundation has partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) on a national program to teach safe driving techniques to teens. Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago is proud to have been selected to receive a grant this year to implement UPS Road Code, bringing this critical life-saving initiative to our more than 75 teenagers at our Clubs.

The Arts
Cultivating Se
lf-Expression and Creativity | Developing Skills and Talents | Exploring Multicultural Art Forms

Digital Arts - Introducing young people to art of the new century that combines creativity and technology. By using digital courseware and participating in instructor-led group activities, members create original Web site designs, graphic design projects, digital photography, electronic music and digital movies. Club members are invited to submit their artwork for an annual national Digital Arts Festival sponsored by Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Microsoft.

Visual Arts - Engaging kids in traditional visual art forms such as drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles collage and other mixed media. Kids also have the opportunity to display their artwork before submitting them to national Boys & Girls Clubs of America competitions.

Performing Arts - Club members step to their own beat by participating in a variety of dance programs such as jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, step dance and Mexican heritage dances. Clubs also host choirs, drum circles, talent shows, plays and musical performances that give young people a spotlight to shine.

Sports, Fitness & Recreation
Developing a passion for fitness and sports | Relieving stress | Encouraging teamwork and sportsmanship

Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul strives to improve the overall health of Club members ages 6-18 by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping our Club members make a lifelong commitment to fitness. This multi-faceted program includes three components:

  • 1. The Mind component encourages young people to eat smart through the Healthy Habits program, which covers the power of choice, calories, vitamins and minerals, the food pyramid and appropriate portion size;
  • 2. The Body component boosts Clubs’ traditional physical activities to a higher level by providing sports and fitness activities for all youth. Body programs include six Daily Fitness Challenges; teen Sports Clubs focused on leadership development, service and careers in athletics; and Triple Play Games Tournaments, inter-Club sectional tournaments that involve multiple team sports; and
  • 3. The Soul component uses team sports to teach age-appropriate, positive social skills. It provides the opportunity for members to play co-ed, structured team sports and compete in leagues and tournaments while developing the necessary social and emotional skills for a healthy future.

Sports - Club members stay fit and have fun by participating in kickball, softball, basketball, soccer, track and field, volleyball, basketball, softball, flag football, and fitness challenges.

Aquatics - Some Clubs offer swim lessons, competitive swim teams, lifeguard skills, water polo, and other activities that help children learn how to be safe and have fun in the water.

Fitness Programs - Young people can get in shape and have fun working out in updated fitness centers and in group exercise classes.

Games - The Clubs’ game rooms are a safe place for kids to learn interpersonal skills and good sportsmanship through fun competition while playing foosball, pool, ping pong, air hockey, and other games.

Field Trips - Our Clubs offer kids the chance to visit nature centers, museums, professional sporting events, circuses, amusement parks, skating rinks, restaurants, and plays. Supervised by adults, these field trips give members opportunities and experiences beyond the boundaries of their own neighborhoods.