We're committed to making our communities better places to live, work and raise families. Supporting youth development programs that help kids stay in school and chart their course in life is an important part of the work of the Opus Foundation® and our community partnerships. Recently the Foundation awarded a $30,000 Impact Fund grant to the
Boys & Girls Clubs of Dundee Township (BGCDT) in suburban Chicago.
For two decades, BGCDT has made it their mission to inspire and enable at-risk youth to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. It is one of the largest Boys & Girls Clubs in Illinois, serving 3,000 youth ages of 6 – 18—95% of which are considered low-income—at eight locations in Dundee Township. Programming focuses on out-of-school time and helping kids progress in the areas of education and career development, character, leadership, health, life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation. Offered free of charge, this is only after-school program for teens in the area.
Supporting New Youth Development Program
The Opus Foundation grant is helping BGCDT fund their new Teens 2 Work program. Based on Boys & Girls Club of America's workforce development framework, Teens 2 Work will provide teens with the skills, knowledge and self-awareness they need to plan and build a viable career path. The program will include career exploration, talent assessments and matching, as well as skills development and work-based learning experiences like job shadowing and internships.
“Teens 2 Work was developed in response to concerns from local employers about youth being inadequately prepared for work due to a variety of factors, including lack of job skills and weak soft skills," said Amanda Ginger, director of leadership and career development at BGCDT. “Support from local businesses in the form of job shadowing and internships is critical to the success of the program."
The program launched in January 2018 and is being offered to interested students. The first group of students will be placed in jobs by the summer of 2018. BGCDT's objective is for 100 of the club's 432 teens to participate in the program and graduate into job placement. Within their businesses, the BGCDT Board of Directors will offer job shadowing opportunities to the students, and a local manufacturing company has committed to 25 job placements for youth who complete the program.
One of the program's largest roadblocks for BGCDT is transportation for students from the high school to club locations and growth opportunities like job shadowing, internships and job placements. The Opus Foundation grant will fund transportation and salaries and allow BGCDT to purchase laptops, software and portable printers to host students at the clubs and other designated locations.
“None of this would be possible without the Opus Foundation," said Amalia Woolf, vice president of development at BGCDT. “Non-government grants like this are essential, especially for getting new programs like this off the ground."
The Opus Foundation is building community for a better tomorrow by supporting projects and programs that make our communities better places to live, work and raise families through grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of early childhood education, youth development, workforce development, community revitalization and pressing/emerging needs. Read more about the Foundation's work.