“Do the best you can do until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
Following in the words of Maya Angelou, Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County (BGCSLC) has been on a path to make sure local teenagers truly ‘know better’ so they can ‘do better’ through their workforce programs at the Club that are preparing them for their next chapter in life.
During a recent Boys & Girls Clubs Florida Area Council Leadership Conference, BGCSLC was recognized with the ‘Education and Career Development Program’ award for the ‘Into the Future’ program for teens.
‘Into the Future’ is a year-around workforce readiness program created by BGCSLC to ensure Club members have the skills needed to graduate from high school on time and be well-prepared for work and life.
The teens are introduced to a host of activities such as the ‘YESS’ program (Youth Employment and Support Services) through Career Source Research Coast where they worked to improve their self-esteem, employability soft skills, career choices and self-sufficiency. Another unique component was Train Up First, a Social-Emotional Learning program engaging teens in powerful activities to develop their emotional intelligence in order for them to be successful in the work world.
During the summer, 156 teens had the opportunity to earn their first paycheck through either a paid intern program through St. Lucie County, local jobs through funding from the City of Fort Pierce, or as Jr. Staff funded through Children’s Services Council. They learned workflows in administration, youth development, administrative technologies, facility maintenance and much more. The teens also served on the Special Programs team and learned about COVID-19, PPE, (Personal Protection Equipment) safety and food safety as they helped distribute 275,000 meals and other essentials to families in need throughout the community.
“Partnerships with these organizations are a golden ticket for the teens. It will give them such an advantage by learning soft skills and having real-world experiences of speaking face-to-face with business leaders in the community.” said Leslie Kristof, BGCSLC Board Chair and Keiser University Campus President in Port St. Lucie.
“Without a doubt, this is the best collection of opportunities that set our teens up to succeed now and, in their future,” said Will Armstead, CEO of BGCSLC. “We provide them with the resources to evolve as young adults but more than anything this gives them hope and a vision of their future.”
The ‘Into the Future’ partners included Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County, St. Lucie County, City of Fort Pierce, City of Port St. Lucie, Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County, Bank of America, Alleghany Franciscan Ministry, Busch Family Foundation, GL Homes, A&G Concrete Pools, Kyle G’s Prime Seafood, SouthEast Elevator, Roundtable of St. Lucie County.
With all of this community support it is nice to know the teens will now ‘know better’ and ‘do better’