Ohio Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Executive Director Adam Shank and Club youth from across the Buckeye State joined State Representative Willis Blackshear, State Senator Stephanie Kunze and Desiree Tims, President and CEO of Innovation Ohio, in a digital setting to speak on issues impacting youth and the role Ohio Clubs play in the community.

COVID-19 forced Ohio Boys & Girls Clubs to address new sets of challenges facing our youth. Clubs across Ohio provided vital services along with a calming, steady presence for struggling families and communities. During this crisis, Boys & Girls Clubs partnered with public officials to help meet the larger needs of communities such as providing childcare for health care professionals and other essential workers, meals — sometimes the only ones kids can count on — and virtual learning to fill educational gaps. These positive impacts wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support of elected officials, making events like the Youth Voice Policy Town Hall so important for local Club leaders.

“Ohio Clubs serve a unique role in providing valuable afterschool programs to our state’s youth that enable them to achieve great futures,” said Adam Shank, Ohio Alliance Executive Director. “Our Youth panelists and I were honored to represent the Buckeye State’s 44,000 Club Youth, served by 66 sites located in 26 Ohio communities, to raise visibility of the needs of our community youth, especially the ones who need us most, and show what we can accomplish with the support of our elected officials and our community.”
 
This event allowed Ohio Alliance leadership and Club youth to virtually meet with members of the Ohio legislature to share their stories and discuss the critical issues currently facing youth, as well as the inspirational ways Clubs are moving the needle for Ohio’s young people.

“Boys & Girls Clubs champion opportunities for all youth, equipping young people with the experiences and tools they need to succeed,” said State Representative Blackshear.

State Senator Kunze added, “Ohio’s Boys & Girls Clubs provide an opportunity for students to participate in a positive afterschool network. I am proud to support a strong investment into Ohio’s students and our local community.”

It also provided a platform for Innovation Ohio to share their perspective on the policies that can best ensure safer childhoods for every Ohioan.

Innovation Ohio CEO Tims noted, “Investing in the Boys & Girls Clubs is one way to help working families and create economic opportunity from the bottom up. Innovation Ohio remains committed to continuing and strengthening this vital work as we face some of our state’s and nation’s biggest challenges.”

Boys & Girls Clubs in Ohio serve nearly 44,000 youth across the Buckeye State. That's more than any other organization outside of public schools. Our 66 sites offer programs and resources in 26 cities and towns to kids that need it most. We provide new experiences every day that give kids hope, and 57 percent of alumni surveyed nationally say the Clubs actually saved their life. Clubs provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Learn more at https://www.bgcohio.org/.