Naperville Youth Club was established as a unit of Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) in 2009 in response to the widening academic achievement gap between upper/middle class students and their economically at- risk peers in our city. Our vision was to provide an after-school program and summer camp in a safe surrounding where children could simultaneously learn and have fun. To that end we offered homework assistance, tutoring, enrichment in arts, math and reading in addition to recreational activities, such as basketball, games, and movies. Previously, our annual enrollment for both programs was around 70 (20-25 for the afterschool program and 40-50 for the summer camp). Our programs accommodate students in grades K-8.
Increased test scores, testimonials from kids, parents and school personnel on the positive influence our club was having on participants’ lives led to requests from schools to add specific students whom they thought we could benefit in various ways. So, in a departure from the focus of BGCA, we expanded our mission to include affording ALL area elementary/middle school youth the opportunity and tools to achieve their full potential as caring, proactive, productive, responsible citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Different demographics, academic emphasis, and inclusionary focus made it advantageous for us to separate from BGCA and become a stand-alone 501(c)3 club.