Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area
Our Story Why We Exist
Matt came to Boys Group where he developed a strong trusting relationship with the Boys and Girls Club youth worker who was quickly able to see the potential that Matt had to offer when engaged. In the fall of 2014, Matt's youth worker encouraged him to join a weekly after school leadership program at the Boys and Girls Club's 5th Avenue location so that he could continue to expand the skills he was developing in a respectful and inclusive environment.
Matt's confidence continued to grow through the friendships he was forging and the encouragement he was receiving from the youth worker. This once quiet and shy individual was gradually coming out of his shell and emerging as a confident young man. Matt signed up as a volunteer at school for the Stop Sign safety patrol group, he baked and sold cookies and cupcakes as a fundraiser for his leadership group at the club and is no longer afraid to step beyond his comfort zone and try new experiences.
Matt has a sense of self! He is connected to both his school and his community.
Matt feels that his biggest accomplishment to date is having the confidence to sign up for a two-night leadership camp away from home - a feat he would never have considered just one year ago prior to joining the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area. Matt is both excited and nervous, but mostly proud of himself for having the ability to make the decision and the confidence to go on his own.
"Thank you to the Boys and Girls Club for helping me learn the skills to become confident in myself. I started to make bad choices because I didn't feel confident. I hope I can someday give the same to someone else"! - Matt.
Our Impact What We Do
We help children and youth discover and achieve their dreams and grow up to be healthy, successful and active participants in society. Here are some of our accomplishments:
- We support 1180 children and youth (933 families) each year and are growing!
- We serve 74,600 healthy nutritious snacks annually
- We connect 100 volunteers with opportunities to be involved
- We provide emergency support to homeless youth or youth at risk of being homeless
- Care for children is both licensed and accredited as part of our commitment to quality childhood development
- Our day home agency oversees 25 local day homes and is expanding up to 40
Our core values:
- Inclusion and opportunity
- Respect and belonging
- Speaking out
Testimonial for Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane - from Excel Homes:
"The Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and area plays a vital role in helping to build a strong and healthy community. The Club provides the opportunity and resources for our youth to make positive choices in their lives and become role models for others. When the Club showed us how much they do already from their cramped and tiny kitchen and how much more they could do with a new kitchen, we were excited to get involved. It’s our opportunity to make a lasting contribution".
- Jeff Smyth, Senior Vice President and Group Chief Financial Officer at Excel Homes.
Our Programs How We Do It
At the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area, children and youth have a safe place to come, meet new friends, have new experiences and develop confidence and skills for life. In addition to the two club locations in Cochrane, programming is also extended into the community through in school programs in Bearspaw, Bragg Creek, Cochrane, Morley, Springbank and Westbrook.
Our core programming focuses on four areas:
- Physical activity, health and safety
- Leadership, growth and empowerment
- Learning and career development
- Families and communities
To learn more about our programs, please click the following link for further details and information: Boys & Girls of Cochrane Programs. To understand our impact, click on this link: Boys & Girls Club of Canada - testimonials.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Being involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area is a meaningful and enriching experience; knowing that you can have direct impact on setting children and youth up for success and supporting families across the community. Here's what you can do:
- Donate - financial donations are an integral part of our funding stream. Many grants require matching funds from donations and fundraising and your funds can be used directly to facilitate programming but also to leverage additional monies for greater outcomes.
- Volunteer - time is precious and volunteering is priceless! Whatever time and size of group available from individuals to corporate teams, we have an option to fit your schedule and area of expertise. Some examples include mentoring children and youth, entertainment, event support, administrative assistance, fundraising and even land and building maintenance or repair.
What's on our horizon?
The Boys & Girls Club of Cochrane & Area has initiated a community program for homeless and vulnerable youth in Cochrane termed "Safe Couch Program." Youth homelessness is generally a hidden issue in Cochrane as these youth tend to "couch surf" or stay with friends for short periods of time, with an estimated 25 youth homeless in Cochrane on any given day.
Our Safe Couch Program is modelled closely after a program in Victoria, BC that has been active for over 20 years. Families with an extra bedroom are contracted to provide shelter to youth in their homes for various lengths of time. Safe Couch families are provided funding to defer the costs of having a youth stay in their home, as well as a respite worker or a respite home when breaks or holidays are needed. Each Safe Couch family will provide meals, a safe and healthy place to live and help guide the self-directed path of each youth with the support of community resources.
During this time of stability, each youth will work with the Youth Housing Liaison and community agencies on a self-directed plan. This plan is youth driven and may include any of the following: family re-integration, completing school, full or part-time employment, drug and alcohol counselling, mental health support, communication skills or career readiness.
The program is currently funded by the Government of Canada Homelessness Parterning Strategy and by Alberta Human Services. This funding supports one operating Safe Couch family and the ability to support respite care for this family. You can help support additional homeless or vulnerable youth through donations or by becoming a Safe Couch family. For more information or to be involved please contact David Smith,Youth Housing Liaison.