Advocating for Kids and Teens: Agenda for America’s Youth Launch
On September 25 in Washington, D.C., Boys & Girls Clubs of America will launch the Agenda for America’s Youth, our inaugural advocacy platform focusing on the critical issues and solutions impacting not just Texas’s kids, but youth across the nation. By advocating for critical issues like the ones outlined in the Agenda for America’s Youth, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is uniquely positioned to increase our collective impact on America’s young people — ensuring the kids we serve today and those we aspire to reach by 2025 have the experiences, opportunities and skills they need to achieve great futures. Using this Agenda as a guide and opportunity to unite under one voice as a movement, Boys & Girls Clubs across the country will advocate for policy solutions at the state, local and federal levels to prioritize out-of-school time; safer childhoods; health and wellness; education, leadership and workforce readiness; resulting in equity and inclusion for all youth.
Clubs are the great equalizer and common denominator for our kids. At a time when 11.3 million school age children are home without adult supervision after school, 1 out of 6 students fails to graduate on time and nearly half of youth don’t believe the American dream is possible, 97% of Club teens expect to graduate from high school and 83% of our members believe they can make a difference in their community. With a Club presence in nearly every Congressional district, we have an incredible opportunity to create more awareness, understanding and support for the issues youth face today. That’s why the Agenda was created.
Out-of-school time is at the forefront of our agenda because we believe it is the critical vehicle for accomplishing these solutions for kids and teens, including ensuring Safer Childhoods so every child feels safe physically and emotionally, not just in Clubs, but everywhere. Clubs not only make kids’ childhoods safer, they build the resiliency that will last young people a lifetime. We will champion issues that support youth in making positive decisions and embracing Healthy Lifestyles & Wellness. We prepare youth for life after the Club with Education, Leadership opportunities and Workforce Readiness, equipping them with the skills they need for success in the workforce while fostering partnership that create access to real-life experiences to explore career options. When every young person has access to quality out-of-school time opportunities, when they’re safe emotionally and physically, when they are healthy and when they have the leadership skills for great futures — that is how we ensure equity and inclusion for all young people.
The Agenda for America’s Youth public launch provides an opportunity to elevate this advocacy agenda externally and invite partnership and activation among Clubs, volunteers, partners, elected officials, other youth-serving organizations and the general public. This is work Clubs are doing every day — work that is making an absolute difference in the lives of the 4.7 million youth we serve annually. Now is our chance to voice this work at the local, state and national levels through the Agenda for America’s Youth and to reach a wide audience so that they can understand its importance and how we can advocate for a better future for our young people.
We can’t do it alone. There are multiple ways you can get involved:
- Save the date for the September 25 launch of the Agenda for America’s Youth and be sure to follow and join the conversation online with the hashtag #AgendaforAmericasYouth.
- We need you to be an advocate for youth. Join the BGCA Catalyst for Change Advocacy Network to receive urgent email action alerts when your voice is needed most on policies and legislation impacting youth. Sign up and invite 5 friends!
- Write a letter to the editor in your local newspaper promoting the Agenda and why it is in everyone’s best interest to support policies that have a positive impact on kids and teens.
By advocating for critical issues like the ones outlined in the Agenda for America’s Youth, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is positioned to increase our collective impact on America’s young people — ensuring the kids we serve today and the ones we hope to reach have the experiences, opportunities and skills they need to achieve great futures.