The right influences at the right time can change a child’s path. For 10-year-old Gabe, the then Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area was a critical support in growing his positive behavior.
“Gabe has the biggest smile and is always helping out his friends,” says Devin Reynolds, supervisor of BGC South East programs in the north end. “It’s just amazing to see his talent and energy coming out now that he can positively channel his emotions.”
Gabe and his seven-year-old sibling, Jacob, have been attending BGC programs at the Rideau Heights Community Center for three years.
“I am so grateful to have BGC programs in our neighborhood … they can walk from school and it is close to our home,” mother Ashley said.
“My boys absolutely love the club,” she continues. “The bond with the staff has really helped Gabe feel safe and work through his behavior.”
Boys and Girls Club staff build strong relationships with children and youth and model healthy behavior. Impact surveys show that more than 75 per cent of children reported that because of the club, they have more trusted adults in their lives and feel more prepared to help others.
“Gabe can get very hot-headed. He has moved away from expressing frustration physically and understands his boundaries a lot better now,” Ashley recounts. “BGC was a safe place where my sons could go after school and in the summer so I could work. … And it became so much more.”
Stronger emotional regulation led Gabe to thrive in other areas, socially and academically.
“Gabe is an amazing leader in our programs,” Reynolds remarks. “The younger kids look up to him, and he is always helping to get the rooms ready and activities started.”
Caraline Billotte, manager of education at BGC, also speaks highly of Gabe’s leadership. Billotte instructed the Kid Tech Nation program this spring, which seeks to develop coding and digital skills for children ages six to 12, through animation, art, games and music.
“Gabe would always help out other kids when they got stuck. He was very creative and helped them see how to navigate the computer programs. He really grew their confidence and showed them how to see themselves as coders!” she recounts.
This BGC-Whig-Standard Campaign seeks to raise enough funds to provide 500 local children with free summer camps at 10 locations across Kingston and the area. Safe camps will provide supervised programs to encourage continued development and connection with healthy influences over the summer months.
“I really like it here, especially playing basketball and making art. Coding was a lot of fun!” Gabe remembers.
“The Boys and Girls Club was there when we needed it,” Ashley says. “I know my kids will continue to grow a lot here.”
Donations will fund programs in qualified child care for children with special needs at Helen Tufts Nursery School; healthy child care programs (before and after school, and summer camps); free leadership and career development programs for youth; and specialized mentoring for over 500 children and youth at Big Brothers Big Sisters.
How to Donate
• Donations can be made online at www.bgcsoutheast.ca.
• Credit card donations can be made by calling 613-507-3306, ex. 100 or 110.
• Checks can be made out to Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area and mailed to 1300 Bath Road, Unit A-2, Kingston, ON, K7M 4X4. A tax receipt will be issued for gifts of $20 or more within two weeks.
• Donors are asked to please note if they would like to remain anonymous or have their names published in recognition of their support. Names will be published in the weekly articles during The Kingston Whig-Standard Campaign.
Peter Dawe $1000
Peter and Sheila Kingston, monthly
Patty Gollogly $100
Ms. Prentice $1,000
Brookland Fine Homes $250
Ms. Smiths $250
Ms. Burnes $250
Mr. Fitzgerald $500
Ms. Myers $250
Ms. Varmas $521
Ms. Maizen $100