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3,2,1 ACTION! Bridge Connection One is Live in The Newsroom!

Ms. Lee, (Left) and Ms. Commack, right, with our Bridge Connection 1 members.

Ms. Lee, (Left) and Ms. Commack, right, with our Bridge Connection 1 members.

Northeast Florida Boys & Girls Clubs members were on location at WTLV – NBC 12 Studios during their spring break for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the work involved in getting your favorite TV and news shows on the air.

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Our Bridge Connection 1 members watched how First Coast Living hosts, Haddie Djemal and Curtis Dvorak, prepared for a live segment of their show. Jerrod, the program’s stage director, transformed the set, showing students how simple changes in background images, table cloth and adding props can make a set look completely distinct.

First Coast Living host, Haddie Djemal, poses with our Bridge Connection 1 members on their station tour.

First Coast Living host, Haddie Djemal, poses with our Bridge Connection 1 members on their station tour.

Our students began their tour in the sales department, learning how the internet has increased the demand of digital video ads as a younger generation watches less TV and traditional commercials in favor of mobile content. These are the ads you see before you watch a free online video.

The tour continued through the news room, where reporters can, on rare occasions, sit down to research developing stories, write their scripts and edit their shoots. “Journalism has changed rapidly. It has been changed by the internet. Everyone wears many hats, journalists are expected to write their story, shoot, edit and track their footage before uploading the finished product”, explained Lori Dorman, Operations and Program Manager for First Coast News.

Upstairs in the ‘A’ Control room, a room filled with screens that display video feeds from all the studio’s cameras, our members watched station director Evan, “code” a live show – which creates cues for commercial breaks and camera switches. All of the cameras in WTLV studios, with the exception of one, are automated and controlled in his hub. Next to Even sat Shenelle, the show’s producer. She put the show together, selecting the right stories and ordering them to create a full show. The last person in the ‘A’ Control room was, Jovi, who controlled the teleprompter. Jovi made sure hosts knew exactly what they needed to say and when.

Inside “‘A’ Control” room.

Inside “‘A’ Control” room.

The finals rooms Lori showed our students are crucial in the broadcast world because they influence what viewers see on TV. The “Central Control Hub,” is a master control room that displays all the feeds being broadcasted from the studio to viewers’ homes in real time. Any changes made to the automation cue here would show up on TV. Lastly, students were taken to the “Hub.” A room full of monitors displaying 28 feeds from other network stations. Operators in this room code commercial breaks and breaking news from other networks into local programming.

Thank you, Lori and First Coast News, for giving our Club members special-access look at how our favorite shows end up on-air and in our living room.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Bridge Connection 1 program serves students ages 9 -14 by providing members’ parents with access to community services and after-school care for youth. Our Youth Care Workers help mentor our members and serve as positive role models.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida Celebrates 2019 Youth of The Year

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JACKSONVILLE, FL / February 28, 2019 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is proud to celebrate some of its finest members at the 2019 Youth of the Year ceremony held last Thursday. Beaches Boys & Girls Club member, Keith E. Gooch, II, an 18-year-old senior at Fletcher High School, was named Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s 2019 Youth of The Year. Arlington Elementary Boys & Girls Club member, Raniyah Colvin, was named Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Junior Youth of The Year.

Executive Area Director, Yvonne Thompson, Keith Gooch, II, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Executive Area Director, Yvonne Thompson, Keith Gooch, II, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Raniyah Colvin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Junior Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Raniyah Colvin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Junior Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Being named Youth of The Year is the highest honor bestowed upon Club members. These individuals exemplify Boys & Girls Clubs’ mission and the impact Clubs produce in the lives of Club members.

 A total of 20 Junior and Youth of The Year candidates from across Northeast Florida Boys & Girls Clubs were recognized for their academic achievements, leadership, character and integrity at Thursday’s award ceremony hosted at Bridge Boys & Girls Club – Weaver Zone. Candidates’ parents, Boys & Girls Club board members and staff along with Kids Hope Alliance representatives were in attendance to support our Northeast Florida youth and encourage their future success.

“This award means a lot to me because it shows all the hard work I’ve put in after all these years at Boys & Girls Clubs has paid off. It shows how I’ve overcome and that I’m headed in the right direction,” said Keith, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida Youth of The Year. Keith intends to attend Florida State College Jacksonville to earn his associate degree in Computer Science and hopes to transfer to University of North Florida to earn his bachelor’s degree.

Keith offers young people looking to achieve their success a word of advice, “Don’t get caught up with the wrong crowd. Always strive for success and follow the things that will help you succeed.”

Youth of The Year is an annual recognition program, organized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Club members since 1947. Boys & Girls Club members from across the nation begin their journey by applying through their local Clubs with the hopes of being selected as their organization’s Youth of The Year representative. Keith will move on to the State competition with hopes to advance to Regionals, and then the National Youth of the Year competition. Applicants are chosen based on four categories: candidate essay, verbal interview, public speaking and overall application quality.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is proud of our 20 Youth of The Year candidates who are role models representing leadership and advocating for all our youth across our organization.

You can view all the event pictures on our Facebook page by clicking HERE

Boys & Girls Club Members Share History of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Through Dance and Skits

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Written By Julanda Clark - In honor of Black History Month, Club members from four of our Northeast Florida Boys & Girls Clubs performed inspiring skits and dances to commemorate our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The skits detailed the history surrounding the nation’s first HBCUs and included historical facts about the institutions. Club members’ step performances demonstrated through dance, the different missions and styles of predominantly black sororities and fraternities.

The ‘HBCU Experience,’ is an educational showcase to help audiences better understand the struggles and triumphs many Black Americans faced to achieve equality in education throughout the nation. Event keynote speaker and Tuskegee University student, Ingrid Thomas, shared her positive experiences while attending an HBCU and offered parents advice on applying for colleges and scholarships. The event was held at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School on Friday, February 15.

Katrina Rogers, Project SOS In-School Coordinator for Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida and event organizer commented on the importance of the HBCU Experience and what it meant to Club members and the community. “The purpose of the HBCU program is to show students the importance of education and for them to learn about the major sacrifices many made to become something through education - even right here in Jacksonville, Florida. We want students to be inspired and know the community and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is behind them.”

Briana Mackey and Jah’kyra Rodman performed two liturgical dances. The first dance represented the glory of black people rising and continuing to fight for equality. The second dance represented the spirit of black people and their achievements of excellence. Audiences viewed clips from a documentary entitled Tell Them We Are Rising, The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” which detailed the history and success of blacks who attended HBCUs.

The goal Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is to be an advocate for all youth and teens, providing them with a platform for their voices to be heard. By hosting this event, we hope to give Club members the platform to speak about the importance of collegiate success and experiences. It is important that all our Club members have the tools and information needed to create their own great futures.

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.

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.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.

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.”