Arlington Community Academy Boys & Girls Club Robotics Team Wins Judges’ Award at Robotics Competition

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Written by Julanda Clark - Club members from 9 of our Northeast Florida Boys & Girls Clubs participated in this season's FIRST LEGO League Challenge: Into Orbit competition, Saturday, February 2nd at the Main Library in Downtown Jacksonville.

All 9 of our Northeast Florida Clubs made a strong showing, but members from our Arlington Community Academy Boys & Girls Club made such an impact they were awarded the Judges’ Award! This award is given to teams whom judges believe have exhibited unique efforts, performances or dynamics to merit recognition. Judges admire these teams for their amazing core values skills, hard work and teamwork. The award is also given to teams who were close to winning an award and deserve special recognition.

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The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs offered at Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida helped prepare our Club members for this tournament. At our Northeast Florida Clubs, members engage in STEM-based activities, learning to build and program OZO bots and Lego Mindstorm robots. Our Club members are also introduced to programs like Power Point, Excel and Microsoft Word to help them stay ahead of the curve.

Ivan Brooks, Unit Director of the Arlington Community Academy Boys & Girls Club, explains why the STEM programs and the FIRST LEGO League Challenge event are so important for his students; “I have seen these students not only excel at robotics, but also become more engaged in their coursework related to science and mathematics as a direct result.”

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This is the 30th season of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge since it was founded in 1998. It was founded by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and LEGO founders to teach students how to embody Core values, celebrate discovery and gracious professionalism while being imaginative and having fun. Teams are judged on three categories: Building and programing a robot to complete a task, creating and solving an outer space related problem, and core values– how well individuals work as a team

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This is second year Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida have competed in the event and we had 6 more teams compete than last year. We love being able to provide opportunities for our Club members to pursue their passions and learn all they can to become successful in their futures. We can’t wait to have more of our Northeast Florida Clubs compete in next year’s tournament and bring home more awards!

Arlington Community Academy Boys & Girls Club, Judges’ Award Winners

Arlington Community Academy Boys & Girls Club, Judges’ Award Winners

Santa Claus Visits Woodland Acres Club in a Fire Truck!

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Santa Claus visited Woodland Acres Boys & Girls Club members in an unexpected way! He left his reindeer sleigh in the North Pole and rode a Firetruck! Santa personally hand-deliver candy to every good Woodland Acres Boys & Girls Club member! 

We thank Boys & Girls Clubs Arlington Area Advisory Board, Jacksonville Fire & Rescue and Bill Hay from Sky Pro Inc. The Arlington Area Advisory Board organized this special holiday event for 85 Woodland Acres Boys & Girls Club members, as a special year-end celebration.

Watch Santa arrive at our Woodland Acres Boys & Girls Club in a firetruck!

Tyler Patmon Victory Pointe Holiday Celebration

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Tyler Patmon, Jacksonville Jaguars Cornerback, celebrated Christmas early with our Victory Pointe Boys & Girls Club members Thursday afternoon, gifting a new Nintendo Switch to the Club along with footballs and basketballs. Atlantic Blvd. Pollo Tropical generously donated food and gifts of their own to make this year-end holiday party unforgettable for our Club members!

Watch the video to see Tyler playing catch, answering questions and spending time with our Victory Pointe Club members! #GreatFuturesStartHere
Thank you, Tyler and Pollo Tropical for helping make our Clubs a better place for our Club members!

Cultural and Mental Health Training For 40 Boys & Girls Clubs Staff

JACKSONVILLE, FL / December 19, 2018 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida received a generous grant from TD Charitable Foundation which funded a cultural and mental health training for 40 youth-serving staff members. The two-hour presentation entitled, Culture Matters: Advancing Behavioral Equity in Community Settings, was facilitated by Voices Institute CEO, Selena Webster-Brass at the Bridge Boys & Girls Club.

The training helped Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida staff members understand the importance behind considering how life experiences impact the outlooks of their Club members. “Thought provoking scenarios and videos were shared that helped us to gain a different perspective with regard to inclusion,” said Dr. Glori White Peters, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Grant and Foundation Relations Director.

“It helped equip staff members to better understand challenges and adversity from a mental health and cultural perspective,” explained Dr. Laban Doyle, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Director of Special Initiatives. Staff members also reviewed methods for working within multicultural groups and how to apply Terry Cross’ Cultural Competency Continuum.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is passionate about serving youth and making a difference in their community. Daily, our staff advocate for all youth and teens, by providing a platform for them to feel safe, learn and grow.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida exist to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. For over 50 years, our Clubs have played an integral role in equipping youth to reach their full potential. We provide daily after-school and summer programming to over 8,000 Club Members annually at 25 Club locations across Northeast Florida.

Lowe’s Partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida Helps Develop Day Camp For Inner-City Children

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Jacksonville FL – 12/18/2018 Employees from various Jacksonville Lowe’s stores volunteered together to help fulfill the vision of creating a camp that serves inner-city children. “Camp Deep Pond is an outdoor day camp that offers inner-city children the opportunity to experience something new,” explains Thomas Stinson, Camp Director for Camp Deep Pond.

The vision for a camp in Hilliard began with Mr. Charles Atkerson, who together with his wife Christie, purchased the reforested land from the government after it had been used as a mine in the ‘70s. Mr. Atkerson developed the property, clearing out a vehicle path around the lake, installing a floating dock and building a visitor’s lounge but wasn’t able to fully complete his vision before passing in 2009. His wife Christie, searched for a financially-stable local non-profit to continue her husband’s vision and selected Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

A group of 25 Lowe’s volunteers, called Heroes, arrived at the Hilliard camp early Thursday morning to begin construction of a lakeside fire pit with seating area and unknown to most of them, their volunteer efforts are continuing Mr. and Mrs. Atkerson’s vision of a camp that serves inner-city children.

 The group also installed four bat houses around the main lake area that help keep insects under control. Lowe’s Heroes are skilled laborers who volunteer their time in support of local community projects. The Heroes paneled the walls of the camp’s nurse station, traveled around the camp fence line clearing away felled trees and helped prune overgrown brush in nature areas.

Lowe’s generously donated the equipment used to develop Camp Deep Pond to Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida, which included chainsaws, shovels, lawn tools and wheelbarrows. Since 2009, Lowe’s has partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide restoration grants to refurbish existing Boys & Girls Clubs around the nation. Local Jacksonville Lowe’s stores decided to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida to help develop their Camp Program, called Camp Deep Pond.

To learn more about Camp Deep Pond, click on the link here.

Northeast Florida Boys & Girls Clubs Mobilize Fruits and Veggies Bus For Low Access Communities

Ready 4 Veggie Mobile Grocery Stand Bus at 3rd Annual Collard Green Festival

Ready 4 Veggie Mobile Grocery Stand Bus at 3rd Annual Collard Green Festival

JACKSONVILLE, FL / November 17, 2018 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is partnering with local farmers, the Jacksonville Farmers Market, regional county extension Offices, the City of Jacksonville and the Florida Department of Health to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to over 15,000 Jacksonville low income, low access residents by 2022.

The Ready 4 Veggies in Northeast Florida – Going Mobile – Farm to Community Bus Project is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service which in addition to providing resources for fresh fruits and vegetables to key Jacksonville areas, includes marketing and business plan development, staff training, support, and messaging for public education. The Ready 4 Veggies Bus is a mobile grocery stand, working as a “Farm to community bus,” transporting farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families in key low-income areas who struggle with adequate access.

Jacksonville Florida is the largest land mass city in the continental United States with 875 square miles of land area. Recent City of Jacksonville data indicates there are 177,000 food insecure individuals, including children and families, senior citizens and veterans in Duval County. These individuals are forced to spend their limited food budgets on inexpensive, canned and processed foods because fresh foods are not available. Recent studies indicate that communities which lack access to fresh, healthy foods will likely exhibit increased premature death and chronic health conditions.

With 25 Clubs across Duval and St. Johns County in key food and dessert areas, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida will use existing Clubs as Ready 4 Veggies mobile grocery stand bus stops - to reach over 5,000 children. The bus is anticipated to begin its routes sometime in March 2019 and the project will have an immediate positive impact on local community families, by creating a sustainable business model that employs local teenager.

Employed teens will learn to sell fruits and vegetables while educating community families on the benefits of healthy eating. Additional educational efforts include accessible nutrition and health information, easy-to-prepare recipes and cooking tips, marketing materials and take-home materials, all available inside the Ready 4 Veggies bus.

Before the Ready 4 Veggies bus hits the streets, an advisory committee comprised of all partnering organizations and businesses must be established to ensure the proper development of optimized and timely bus routes for produce options from Berry Good Farms, Twinn Bridges, Congaree and Penn Farms, Eat Your Yard Jax, and the farmers from the Jacksonville Farmers Market.

Weekly Ready 4 Veggie bus routes to key food dessert areas of Northeast Florida will directly benefit local farm and ranch operations serving local markets. The quick turn-around, easy scheduling, and ease of access will increase sales of produce. A win-win local market initiative.

Long-range plans include sustainable processes and partnerships that engages key community partners to make strategic decisions to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and provides low access families with education of healthy eating habits. Funds earned from fruit and vegetable sales will be funneled into local teen employee payroll, providing a sustainable employment business model for Jacksonville teens. Remaining profits will be re-invested into the program to help ensure sustainability and marketability.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Woodland Acres Club will house The Ready 4 Veggies bus. Woodland Acres features a football field sized farm and is the location of Boys & Girls Clubs Annual Collard Green Festival, in Arlington. The Ready 4 Veggies in Northeast Florida – Going Mobile – Farm to Community Bus Project will be announced alongside the Ready 4 Veggies Mobile Grocery Stand at Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s 3rd Annual Collard Green Festival, Nov 17th, 2018, at our Woodland Acres Club, located at 191 Pecan Street, Jacksonville FL, 32211.

SAiRA Food & Wine Festival Has Raised $40,000 For St. Augustine Boys & Girls Club Youth

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ST. AUGUSTINE, FL / December 6, 2018 – The 9th Annual Food & Wine Festival event, held in St. Augustine’s River House waterfront property on October 4th, hosted 250 guests and raised $40,000 for St. Augustine Boys & Girls Club, THE PLAYERS Championship, youth. Guests enjoyed a wonderful afternoon sampling signature main courses, appetizers, desserts and exotic wines from St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association’s 12 member restaurants.

For nearly a decade of partnership, the St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association (SAiRA) has contributed over $320,000 in support of THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club’s local youth development and programmatic efforts through their Food & Wine Festival. Guests received a commemorative wine glass souvenir and enjoyed a lovely fall afternoon in St. Augustine with live music and plenty of networking and socializing opportunities.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida would like to thank this year’s Title Sponsor Publix and Vineyard Sponsor US Foods for their investment in our local youth through the Food & Wine Festival.

For over 50 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida has invested in the lives local young people, equipping them with the skills and tools they need to reach their full potential. Boys & Girls Club staff are committed to providing quality after-school programming at every Northeast Florida Club, daily, to youth ages 6 to 18. Today Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida serves over 8,000 Club members throughout 25 Clubs across Northeast Florida.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida exist to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. For over 50 years, our Clubs have played an integral role in equipping youth to reach their full potential. We provide daily after-school and summer programming to over 8,000 Club Members annually at 25 Club locations across Northeast Florida.

Board Chair Michael Huyghue Gives Back

Support Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida and meet out Board of Governors Chair, Michael Huyghue @Barnes & Nobles St. Johns Town Center! Celebrate with Michael in introducing his book, "Behind The Line of Scrimmage: Inside The Front Office of The NFL." A portion of sales earned will go towards our Boys & Girls Clubs. Event begins at 7pm.

Boys & Girls Clubs to revamp Springfield building into 'coolest place for teens'

Boys & Girls Clubs to revamp Springfield building into 'coolest place for teens'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida want to breathe some life into the old languishing Laurence F. Lee club building in Springfield.

The facility at the corner of Liberty and 10th served the community for 50 years.
But it has been vacant since the summer of 2015 after the recession and rising maintenance costs took their toll on the building, according to the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Committee.

“The goal of the new club is for it to be the coolest place for teens,” said Joanne Kazmierski, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

A complete renovation is in the works to transform the building into a multipurpose facility to serve area kids with after-school and summer programs. It’s going to be the community’s Citi Teen Center.

“One of our big focus points for this building, because it is geared toward teens, is to have resources that will teach skill sets that will help them in a job or career,” Kazmierski said in a news release.  “That said, we not only view this facility as being for local teens, but the community will have access to basketball leagues, religious services, yoga, Zumba, bingo and more.”

The Boys and Girls Clubs is working with the city and a number of community organizations to take the project from concept to reality.

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Local volunteers build park for kids in a day

Hundreds of volunteers built a new playground Friday for kids at Arlington Community Academy.

KaBOOM and Target partnered up to pay for the research-based playground.

Lauren May, with Arlington Community Academy, tells Action News Jax, “(Kids on the playground will) be able to grow their motor skills, and we know that when kids are outside and they’re able to play and have fun, they learn more. That’s our goal.”

Project leaders say students helped design the play equipment.

Students at the academy and kids with the Boys and Girls Club will have access to the playground.

Lakeshia Youmans lives right down the road.

She says the facility needed an area for play, and her two sons are excited for the playground.

Youmans explains, “It actually does help them learn and want to learn. Keeps them out of the activities the other kids are in, the bad stuff.”