LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) — The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Utah now calls Logan home with a new center on Main Street. The organization hopes the new center will improve the lives of working-class families in the area and plans to expand to three locations across the Cache Valley soon.
“They care where their kids are. They want their kids to have better lives than them,” said JeuneElle Jeffries, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Utah.
She was referring to working parents who may not be able to be at home with their children right after they get out of school. She said the Logan center has been something the area has needed for a long time.
“We need to be giving as much prevention, as many resources as we can to families that are working and paying their bills and doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Jeffries said.
Children in kindergarten all the way through 12th grade can join the program. During weekdays, the children who join will have a safe place to stay after school while their parents are still at work. They will also have access to mentors, games, educational resources, career preparation, and the occasional field trip.
The Logan center takes kids of all ages and has a dedicated area for teens and tweens. In this space, they will have greater access to STEM projects, college and career prep, and teen mentors. These resources helped two of the center’s employees decide to pursue an education after high school.
“I’m a first-generation college student, and I really started thinking about college at the Boys & Girls Club,” said Hailey Crabb, the site director for the center.
She is currently in college and studying to become a teacher. She told ABC4 that both of those decisions were highly influenced by her time in the club.
“I really had no idea what college was, and I didn’t think that I could afford it, and I didn’t even really know what I wanted to do,” said Kendalle Curfew, the operations director of the center. “So, just having conversations with the staff at the club really helped me.”
Like Crabb, she is currently going to school and hopes to become a social worker. Again, both decisions were influenced by her time in the club as a teen.
While children in the club will have access to resources that may help them succeed in school, the pandemic proved that they need additional resources as well.
“Let’s address mental health,” said Jeffries. “Let’s address social and emotional learning. Let’s address academic success.”
Jeffries told ABC4 that kids who join the club get better grades and graduate high school and go to college at higher rates than peers with similar social backgrounds who didn’t participate in similar afterschool programs.
At the very least, Crabb said the club is a place for kids to make friends.
“They can really find their place, and what they like and want to do,” Crabb said. “It’s just a good experience all around.”